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Opportunity for Free Exhibit Pass to Intersolar North America 2012 (July 10-12, San Francisco)

Intersolar North America

Intersolar North America will take place from July 10-12 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.  This event is a trade show and conference focusing on photovoltaics, solar thermal technology, and solar architecture.

Intersolar North America will include informative conference sessions and exhibit hall with hundreds of exhibitors.  Until April 12 you can obtain a free exhibit hall pass by registering here.

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.

SolarCity Raises $81 Million

SolarCitySolarCity announced earlier this week that it has raised $81 million in equity financing. The round was co-led by Silver Lake Kraftwerk and Valor Equity Partners, and included investments from Nicholas J. Pritzker, partner at Tao Ventures and senior development advisor for Hyatt Hotels Corp., and Shea Ventures, an affiliate of SolarCity partner Shea Homes. SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk and existing SolarCity investor DBL Investors also participated. The company stated that these funds will support SolarCity’s expansion of sales, marketing and operations, technology development and potential acquisitions.

“Individuals and organizations of all shapes and sizes are fed up with the growing cost and consequences of traditional energy,” said Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO. “This investment provides SolarCity the resources to explore new products and services and identify new geographies and potential acquisitions as we seek to deliver better energy choices to more customers.”

“SolarCity is the leader in its space,” said Raj Atluru, co-founder of Silver Lake Kraftwerk. “The company’s unique, vertically-integrated model, paired with incentives and falling technology costs, allows it to provide solar electricity to customers at lower rates than they pay for utility power. We’ve thoroughly analyzed SolarCity’s full-service approach to solar and energy efficiency and we believe it has the ability to deliver superior customer experience and service across multiple sectors.”

“SolarCity is making clean energy more accessible and affordable, and we’re excited for the opportunity to invest in its operations,” said Antonio Gracias, CEO of Valor Equity Partners.  Valor is also an investor in Tesla Motors.

According to Dow Jones VentureWire, SolarCity had raised $121 million in equity prior to this round (see prior Green VC coverage for some of these earlier investments).  There have also been numerous reports that SolarCity is considering an IPO.

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.

Opportunity for Free Exhibit Pass to Intersolar North America 2011 (July 12-14, San Francisco)

Intersolar North America 2008

Intersolar North America will take place from July 12-14 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.  This event, held in conjunction with SEMICON West, is a trade show and conference focusing on photovoltaics, solar thermal technology, and solar architecture.

Intersolar North America will include informative conference sessions and exhibit hall with hundreds of exhibitors.  Until April 25 you can obtain a free exhibit hall pass by registering here.

Solar Power Development Company Silverado Power Announces Launch; Has 400 MW in Utility-Scale Projects

Silverado Power

Silverado Power announced its public launch today at the Solar Power International conferenceSilverado Power is a solar development company based in San Francisco, CA.  The company stated that it has more than 75 US solar farms in various stages of development and 40 already filed for interconnection in Southern California.  Overall, Silverado Power stated that it has 400 MW in utility-scale projects in progress.  Martifer Solar, a portfolio company of the Martifer Group, has provided the central funding for Silverado Power.

“The solar industry has made great strides in the last five years but hasn’t addressed a fundamental problem; how to reduce the time-to-production for solar energy. The lack of transmission infrastructure has been one of the main contributors. We are confident that Silverado Power will play a crucial role in helping California utilities meet its energy needs through a distributed model that avoids this problem, satisfying environmental regulations and avoiding transmission issues that normally prevent power from reaching end-users. In many cases, transmission is more valuable than the land,” said John Cheney, CEO, Silverado Power.

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.”

PVT Solar Obtains $13.7 Million in Series B Round of Financing

PVT Solar, a Berkeley, California company that designs, manufactures, and markets the Echo solar system, recently announced that it closed a $13.7 million Series B financing round. Sigma Partners led this round of financing and was joined by Khosla Ventures and Energy & Environment Investment, Japan. In 2009, Khosla Ventures led PVT Solar's initial round of financing. The following video illustrates the company's Echo system.

PVT Solar also announced that Vikas Desai has been appointed CEO. Desai was previously vice president and general manager of SunPower Corporation's residential and light commercial business unit, which he grew to $1 billion in annualized revenues.

"The Echo solar system is the best solar solution available to homeowners today, it is a game changing technology," said Fahri Diner, managing director, Sigma Partners. "We're impressed that the Echo solar system has achieved significant traction in the market so quickly, and that PVT Solar has secured Meritage Homes, Joseph Carl Homes, and other leading homebuilders as customers. Additionally, Vikas Desai's management and engineering expertise — and that of his team — will help ensure PVT Solar's continued steady growth."

"PVT Solar is extremely focused on delivering a superior customer experience," noted Desai. "To that end, we've added two key individuals with a proven track record in this area. Steve Walden (previously with Masco Corporation) is PVT Solar's new director of national sales, and Mike Harshfield (previously with McDonald's) has been named director of field operations. These hires will enhance PVT Solar sales, channel development, field operations and installation efforts — generating sales, driving deployment, and accelerating adoption of Echo solar energy systems."

"We've built a team with a successful track record of innovation and achievement," said Desai. "We're very proud to be adding such outstanding professional talent and acumen to our team as we scale up our operations and accelerate our growth to meet the increased demand for Echo." 

Sharp Acquires Recurrent Energy for Up To $305 Million

Recurrent Energy

Recurrent Energy and Sharp Corporation anounced earlier this month that they have reached a definitive agreement for Sharp to acquire Recurrent Energy for up to $305 million in cash at closing, subject to balance sheet adjustments.  The acquisition is expected to close before the end of 2010, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.  Recurrent Energy is a Hudson Clean Energy Partners portfolio company (see prior Green VC coverage). Other shareholders include Mohr Davidow Ventures.

Recurrent Energy, based in San Francisco, is a solar project developer and generating company with a 2 GW pipeline.  Recurrent Energy will retain its name and operate as a subsidiary of Sharp after the acquisition. Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy, will continue to lead the company and report to Toshishige Hamano, Sharp’s Executive Vice President responsible for overseas business.  Recurrent Energy’s executive team and employees will also continue with the company.

"We are excited to have reached a definitive agreement for Sharp to acquire Recurrent Energy, a leading solar project developer and generating company with a 2 GW pipeline. It is essential for Sharp to function as a developer in the photovoltaic field, in order to further expand its business in this area. With Recurrent Energy’s know-how as a developer, Sharp aims to become a total solutions company in the photovoltaic field, extending from developing and producing solar cells and modules to developing and marketing power generation plants," said Toshishige Hamano.

"We're thrilled to reach this agreement with Sharp, a company known for its global leadership in solar technology," said Arno Harris, CEO, Recurrent Energy. "Sharp's support will help us to accelerate our growth and further cement Recurrent Energy’s goal to build the leading global solar generating company."

"We’ve enjoyed a tremendous partnership with the Recurrent Energy team and believe Sharp is the right partner to accelerate the growth of the business," said Neil Auerbach, a Recurrent Energy director and Managing Partner at Hudson Clean Energy Partners.

Solaria Raises $65 Million in Series D Financing

Solaria Solaria, a manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules, announced earlier this month that it has concluded its Series D round of financing with a total amount raised of $65 million.  This figure was $20 million above the company’s original target and included a $10 million growth loan facility from Western Technologies Inc (WTI).

Adams Street Partners, Cycad Group, and WTI recently joined the Series D round, which was led by CMEA Capital and DBL Investors, following a May 2010 close that included Sigma Partners, NGEN Partners, Mitsui Ventures and Savitr Capital. enXco (an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company) also participated in the final close with a small investment.

Solaria will use the newly raised funds to increase availability of their solar modules, which are designed specifically for ground-mounted tracking systems. The company states that its proprietary manufacturing processes require only a fraction of the capital expenditure per watt of manufacturing capacity needed by standard industry processes. Solaria modules are available to customers in North America, Europe, and Asia.

“We’re accelerating production to meet strong demand for our new modules,” said Dan Shugar, CEO of Solaria. “We appreciate our customers and investors’ confidence in Solaria’s ability to deliver a reliable, cost effective product that advances the deployment of industrial and utility-scale solar power plants.”

“We are very pleased to make an investment in Solaria, as we believe they have developed a superior low concentration solar technology ideal for large solar tracking systems,” said Tom Berman, Partner, Adams Street Partners.

“Solaria’s technology promises an aggressive price/performance metric, focused on meeting increased demand from utilities, independent power producers, integrators, and other energy providers who are focused on affordably deploying solar power in the years ahead,” said David Kirkpatrick, vice president of solar development for enXco.

“WTI is pleased to continue its relationship with Solaria and to help them grow to the next phase. WTI is investing in Solaria because they’re gaining solid traction in the solar market, securing leading customers, and partnering with key players in the industry,” said Dan Holman, investment principal, WTI.

Solaria’s corporate headquarters are in Fremont, California and it has operations in Germany and India.  Some additional background on the company is available in the following presentation (in two parts) from Suvi Sharma, President of Solaria.

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