SolFocus now has nearly $150 million in total funding, to become the most heavily-funded concentrating solar startup around.
Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) arrays are tiny, highly-efficient solar cells that have sunlight focused on them by lenses and mirrors in order to amplify the amount of energy they can generate. The technology’s creators claim it’s a better, cheaper way to harvest solar energy than a regular solar panel. But in the eyes of the energy industry, it’s still an unproven technology.
SolFocus is one of the earliest founded, and most heavily funded, of the CPV companies. The company was founded in 2005, and started off in the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where some of today’s leading technologies were first conceived.
The company recently struck a major deal in November of 2008, with a $103 million purchase of its panels by Spanish company EPME Solar. The agreement was the largest of its type so far and should help prove if CPV is a worthwhile technology.
SolFocus is looking to cap off the round at $60 to $70 million, which may happen later this quarter. The investment was led by Apex Venture Partners, with help from New Enterprise Associates and NGEN Partners. The Mountain View, Calif. company also promoted president Mark Crowley to the role of chief executive.