MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SolFocus, the leading developer of Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) systems, today announced that it has raised $47.5 million in the first close of its Series C financing and appointed Mark Crowley chief executive officer. SolFocus will use the new funding to accelerate expansion of its manufacturing operations and extend its early base of commercial CPV deployments. The company aims to grow deployments from .5 MW in 2008 to approximately 100MW by the end of 2010.
The round was led by Apex Venture Partners with follow-on investment by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), NGEN Partners and others. The company anticipates a second close later this month.
Mark Crowley, who was named president of SolFocus in August 2008, will assume the role of chief executive officer to guide the company in its transition from small scale demonstration installations to large scale commercialization. The previous CEO and founder, Gary D. Conley, will continue as chairman of the board and help uphold the company’s commitment to innovation.
“This is an exciting time to be taking the helm of SolFocus,” said Mark Crowley, chief executive officer. “We have developed and delivered .5 MW of our high efficiency, cost-effective CPV systems, and are now poised to roll out product in high volume. Our C Round funding will allow us to invest rapidly to support our aggressive growth plans.” Mr. Crowley noted that this first close comes despite what is one of the most challenging funding environments in history. “Many good companies are going unfunded today; this close is strong validation from investors that our CPV systems are compelling today, and will help drive the growth of the solar industry tomorrow.”
The SolFocus CPV design employs a system of reflective optics to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells. The industry-leading SolFocus 1100S system achieves over 25% efficiency, and uses 1/1,000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional silicon-based photovoltaic panels. In addition, the cells used in SolFocus CPV systems have over twice the efficiency of traditional silicon cells. In solar-rich regions of the world, such efficiency can accelerate the trajectory for solar energy to reach cost parity with fossil fuels.
SolFocus integrates its CPV panels with its advanced tracking system that continuously aligns the solar array with direct sunlight throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. The tracking capability results in energy generation ideally matched to peak demand periods.
The funding and leadership developments follow the release of the SolFocus 1100S system in November and the announcement of two groundbreaking customer deployments in Europe: the largest CPV installation, announced with EMPE in November, and the first CPV installation in Greece, announced with Samaras Group.