MiaSolé Raises $55 Million in Additional Funding

MiaSole MiaSolé, a Santa Clara, CA-based manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar panels, announced earlier this month that it obtained $55 million in additional funding.  As reported by Greentech Media, this funding came primarily from existing investors.  The company's current investors include Voyageur Mutual Funds, Kleiner Perkins, Firelake Capital, and VantagePoint Venture Partners. 

"This funding comes at a time when the company has begun production of 14% modules with the industry's lowest capex per watt, which is now under 50 cents. We are pleased that investors have demonstrated a powerful endorsement of our strategy and growing success in the market," said John Carrington, CEO of MiaSolé. "This additional investment will allow us to take the company to the next level and we are focused on aggressively building the commercial side of our business with both our traditional glass-on-glass and flexible products. We have demonstrated technology leadership and are now focused on commercial performance: our investors have responded to that.”

"MiaSolé is entering into an important time in its history," said Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Director at Vantage Point Capital Partners, on behalf of the MiaSolé board of directors. "It has the right strategy, the right technology and the right team to deliver a new benchmark in solar for cost, performance and capital efficiency with the enormous benefit of being able to compete in both the traditional glass and flexible panel markets."

"MiaSole’s ability to deliver 14 percent in production with demonstrated capability to achieve 17 percent further emphasizes the progress we are continuously making against our roadmap," said Carrington. "We are excited about the road ahead and our ability to deliver the true promise of thin film technology -enabling the lowest levelized cost of electricity for our customers."

MiaSolé has stated that it has installed more than 55MW of solar modules thusfar in a variety of projects in North America, Europe and Asia.  You can learn more about the company in the following video.

Danotek Raises $15 Million in Series B Round of Financing

Danotek Motion Technologies

Danotek Motion Technologies, a Canton, Michigan-based company that develops and manufactures energy conversion systems for the wind energy and industrial markets, recently announced that it raised $15 million in a series B round of financing. This round of financing was led by Khosla Ventures, CMEA Capital, GE Energy Financial Services, Statoil Technology Invest, and included undisclosed independent contributors.  GE Energy, Statoil and CMEA invested $7.25 million in Danotek in November 2008 and invested (with Khosla Ventures) $13.2 million in December 2009.

According to an article in Xconomy, Danotek was founded in 2001 by a group of former GE engineers, including Daniel Gizaw, who also worked at Cummins Power Generation, General Motors, and Ford Motor.  Below is a brief Danotek video featuring Mr. Gizaw:

The company is now focused on products including permanent magnet generators (PMG) and power electronics for wind turbines.  Danotek said it will use the funds from its series B round to commercialize its PMG technology and expand its research and development initiatives.

"Our leading PMG technology, combined with our commitment to effective partnerships with our customers, has already been rewarded with orders exceeding $50 million. The fact that our current investors want to continue supporting us via the B-round illustrates their confidence in our technology and leadership team," noted Don Naab, Danotek’s President and CEO. "We are already contracted with some of the wind industry’s leading turbine manufacturers, with our first systems going up-tower later this year, and we're engaged in multiple negotiations with several other globally-recognized turbine manufacturers. Danotek is on track and well positioned for success."

"At Khosla Ventures we invest in technologies with the potential to disrupt their industries," said founder Vinod Khosla. "The latest round of orders Danotek has received for its permanent magnet generators is just the beginning. We look forward to Danotek's continued growth by means of company innovation, partnerships, and customers across the globe."

"Danotek's products improve the efficiency and reliability of the drive-train, which is critical for its customers. We've been impressed by its proven commercial traction and increased our investment so Danotek can continue to grow its customer base and extend its product line," said Rachel Sheinbein, partner at CMEA Capital. "We believe that the company is well-positioned to become a leading force in the wind energy industry."

– This post was written by Rob Stewart, a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Urban Sustainability at the Antioch University of Los Angeles, and edited by Leonard Adler, Founder and Publisher of Green VC.

ClearEdge Power Raises $73.5 Million in Series E Round of Financing

ClearEdge Power

ClearEdge Power, a Hillsboro, Oregon-based company developing and manufacturing fuel cells, recently announced that it received $73.5 million in a series E round of funding. New investor Artis Capital Management led this round, which included financing from existing investor Kohlberg Ventures. Other investors included Australia-based Güssing Renewable Energy and the Southern California Gas Company.

The company said it would use the money for the domestic and international commercialization of its ClearEdge5 fuel cell energy system, which takes natural gas and converts it to electricity. The following video explains how the ClearEdge5 energy system works.

“As a leading producer of distributed generation solutions for light commercial applications, ClearEdge Power is changing the way businesses across the world get their energy,” said ClearEdge Power President and CEO Russell Ford. “This new investment provides the capital necessary for ClearEdge Power to build on our already strong foundation by entering new markets, advancing our technology and commercializing new products.”

“The fuel cell industry is reaching an important tipping point and over the next 18 months a clear gap will begin to emerge between companies that have strong products and clearly defined markets and those that do not,” said Dr. Kerry-Ann Adamson, Research Director, Pike Research. “In the recent Pike Pulse: Prime Power Stationary Fuel Cell report, ClearEdge Power scored very highly. The company’s score was due to ClearEdge Powers’ combination of market strategy and ability to execute to meet demand. ClearEdge Power also clearly differentiates its product offering (hitting a real power demand sweet spot) enabling it to reach many verticals with one product.”

– This post was written by Rob Stewart, a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Urban Sustainability at the Antioch University of Los Angeles, and edited by Leonard Adler, Founder and Publisher of Green VC.

OPXBIO Raises $36.5 Million in Series C Financing

OPXBIO

OPXBIO announced earlier this month that it raised $36.5 million in the first closing of a series C round of financing. This round was led by U.S. Renewable Group (USRG) and included first time investor DBL Investors with returning investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Altira Group and X/Seed Capital.  OPXBIO also announced that it added USRG managing director Jonathan Koch to its Board of Directors. 

The Colorado-based company said that the money will be used to quicken the development and commercialization of its first renewable chemical, BioAcrylic. Announced in April, the company signed a joint development agreement with Dow Chemical to turn fermentable sugar (corn and/or cane sugar) feedstock into a bio acrylic acid. Currently, petroleum-based acrylic acid is an $8 billion global market and a vital chemical building block used in a wide range of consumer goods including paints, adhesives, diapers and detergents.

Founded in 2007, OPXBIO uses EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering) technology to convert renewable raw materials into biochemicals and fuels. The EDGE platform allows the organization to engineer high-performing microbes and bioprocesses more proficiently in contrast to conventional genetic engineering methods.

“OPXBIO clearly is leading the industry in addressing a large, growing global demand for economic, renewable alternatives to petro-based chemicals,” said Jonathan Koch, managing director at USRG. “Powered by a proven technology platform and manufacturing process and an exceptionally strong management team, OPXBIO has demonstrated a superior ability to rapidly develop and commercialize multiple products to penetrate multi-billion dollar existing markets.”

“We consider the investment in OPXBIO by USRG and DBL Investors to be a significant endorsement of the company’s strong progress,” said Erik Straser, general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures. “The addition of partners like Dow, the demonstrated efficiency and unprecedented speed of the EDGE™ platform to generate economic bio-based products, and a management team of industry veterans who continue to execute toward commercialization are all part of building a leader in sustainable chemicals.”

“We welcome USRG and DBL Investors to the OPXBIO investor team and are encouraged by their recognition of our technical and business development progress and value-creation potential,” said Charles R. (Chas) Eggert, president and CEO of OPXBIO. “With strong investor support, a world-class team and technology platform, and a powerful strategic development relationship with Dow, OPXBIO is extending its leadership position in the emerging renewable chemicals industry.”

Additional information on the company is in the following video:

– This post was written by Rob Stewart, a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Urban Sustainability at the Antioch University of Los Angeles, and edited by Leonard Adler, Founder and Publisher of Green VC.

SolarBridge Raises $19 Million in Series C Funding

SolarBridge Technologies

SolarBridge Technologies, an Austin, Texas–based company, announced in June that it raised $19 million in series C funding. This round of financing was led by existing investors Rho Ventures, Battery Ventures and The Texas Emerging Technology Fund, and included two undisclosed new investors. 

The company said the money raised would be used to enlarge production capacity, sales support and R&D teams for its patented Pantheon microinverter. SolarBridge has raised more than $46 million to date in ventures capital.

The Pantheon microinverter is a device that converts the direct electrical power produced by a solar panel into alternating current, which can be used by a house or business or transferred to the utility power grid. It mounts directly onto solar panels rather than act as a standalone unit.

Announced in May, SolarBridge started production of their microinverter with Celestica in Dongguan, China. Earlier this month it added former vice president of research and development at SunPower, Bill Mulligan, to its board of directors.

“We were able to add investors, as well as have current investors participate in our C round of financing,” said Ron Van Dell, president and CEO, SolarBridge. “This exemplifies the confidence in our very capital-efficient business model and the tremendous momentum around our technological approach to ACPV. The SolarBridge AC Module System will dramatically reduce the LCOE for solar installations by improving system reliability, increasing energy production and greatly simplifying the installation process.”

– This post was written by Rob Stewart, a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Urban Sustainability at the Antioch University of Los Angeles, and edited by Leonard Adler, Founder and Publisher of Green VC.

Proterra Announces $50 Million in Investment in June

Proterra

According to two announcements this month, Proterra, a Golden, Colorado-based company that is developing battery electric transit buses and related products, has received investments totaling $50 million.

In the first announcement, the company stated that MK Energy and Infrastructure, LLC had invested $20 million.  Proterra said the funds will be used for purposes including accelerating the construction of the company's first full-scale manufacturing plant in Greenville, South Carolina.

In the second announcement, Proterra stated that it received $30 million.  This investment was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and includes GM Ventures, Mitsui & Co., Vision Ridge Partners, and 88 Green Ventures. The company said that it will use these funds to support the commercialization of its battery electric transit buses and automated bus charging system.

Proterra's products include the battery electric EcoRide BE-35 (video below), which is being used at Foothill Transit in Pomona, California and will be used by VIA Transit in San Antonio and Tallahassee StarMetro later this year. According to Proterra, the BE-35 is averaging almost 24 miles per gallon (diesel equivalent), which represent a more than 600% improvement over a typical diesel bus, which averages under 4 miles per gallon. Proterra also produces a FastFill charging station that can charge the bus in 5 – 10 minutes through a rooftop connection.

"Our goal at Proterra is to fundamentally transform urban transit," said Jeff Granato, Chief Executive Officer of Proterra, "The tremendous resources of Kleiner Perkins, leveraged with GM’s automotive expertise and the financial and technical strength of Mitsui, Vision Ridge and 88 Green Ventures gives us an enviable platform to compete and win in the electric transit bus market."

“Electrification of public transportation has tremendous benefits to governments, municipalities andciti¬zens by reducing the operating cost of transit, while also eliminating local air pollution and reducing C02 per passenger mile in the industry,” said Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President and Partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Proterra also announced that it has added Michael Linse, a partner at KPCB, to the company's Board of Directors and elected David Lehmann as its new board chair. Mr. Lehmann's experience includes conducting business in 28 countries for companies such as GE, Caterpillar, and Solar Turbines. Proterra is headquartered in Golden, Colorado and has a manufacturing facility in Greenville, South Carolina.

– This post was written by Rob Stewart, a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Urban Sustainability at the Antioch University of Los Angeles, and edited by Leonard Adler, Founder and Publisher of Green VC. Image credit: Proterra.

Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition to Award $1 Million

The application period has opened for the 2011 Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.  This competition will award more than $1 million in cash, plus in-kind awards of services, staffing and, software.  The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition also includes a competition for college students with an idea for an innovative business.  Alternative energy is one of the areas that will be considered for this competition. 

The application deadline is August 18 for companies and September 21 for student applications.  The competition will conclude with investor pitches on November 16-17 at the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest.  The Competition Finals and Gala Awards Celebration will be held the evening of November 17 at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is a collaborative effort of the Business Accelerator Network for Southeast Michigan, the New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan and Accelerate Michigan (a strategic alliance between Business Leaders for Michigan and the University Research Corridor).

Additional information on this competition is available at http://www.acceleratemichigan.org/

 

Solix Biofuels Obtains $16 Million in Series B Financing and Changes Name to Solix BioSystems

Solix Biosystems

Solix Biofuels, a developer of algae production technology, announced earlier this week that it has secured more than $16 million from inside investors as the first part of its Series B financing round. Bohemian Ventures, The Southern Ute Alternative Energy Fund, and I2BF Global Ventures all participated in the financing. In conjunction with the financing, the company stated that it is changing its name to Solix BioSystems to better reflect its role as a provider of algae production systems.

Solix said that it will use the new funding to drive the commercialization of the AGS, its industrial algae growth system.  The company is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado and has a demonstration facility near Durango in Southern Colorado.

Community Energy Obtains $4 Million in Series A Financing

Community Energy, a Radnor, PA-based renewable energy developer and marketer, announced this week that it completed a $4 million Series A round of financing.  This financing was led by SJF Ventures and joined by NGP Energy Technology Partners.  The company said that it will use the funds to expand its pipeline of utility-scale solar generation projects under development in the Northeast, Midwest, and West.

“In the past, we’ve looked at the renewable energy project development space, but haven’t found a match until now,” said Chris Sorrells, Managing Director at NGP Energy Technology Partners. “We are pleased to join SJF Ventures in backing a very proven management team to aggressively pursue utility scale solar development in their target markets.” 

“We liked the seasoned leadership team at CEI, and their 10-year track-record of success in early-market renewable energy development and renewable power marketing,” said David Kirkpatrick, Managing Director of SJF Ventures, who has joined the CEI Board of Directors.   “The solar power market is just opening up at scale, and we look forward to advancing that market with Community Energy.”