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13 November 2007


GreenVolts raises $10m in Series A funding

GreenVolts Inc of San Francisco, CA, USA, which has developed concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cell technology, announced that it has secured $10m in a Series A funding round led by Greenlight Energy Resources Inc, an operator of renewable energy projects and an investor in early-stage renewable energy companies, and involving Pacific Northwest energy production, transmission and distribution company Avista Corp as well as several other investors. The funding was announced at the end of October at the annual California Cleantech Open (CCTO awards) ceremony in San Francisco, where GreenVolts received the 2007 CCTO Alumni award for progress in customer acquisition and funding (after being the winner in the renewable energy category last year).

GreenVolts targets low-cost industrial or utility-scale distributed generation applications. The firm’s High Concentration PhotoVoltaic (HCPV) system uses an Off-Axis Microdish aluminum reflector mirror to concentrate sunlight onto a receiver with a III-V multi-junction terrestrial solar cell. The mirror optical coating technology is under exclusive license from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The system maximizes energy yield from high-efficiency solar cells, resulting in high energy density. Compared to conventional solar panels, it requires less land while producing twice the energy at half the cost, the firm claims. Furthermore, the system does not require large, remote tracts of land and associated investments in new transmission lines.

“We selected Greenlight Energy Resources for this round because we wanted a group of smart, experienced investors with real-world renewable energy experience who could help us build a company positioned for long-term success,” said founder and CEO Bob Cart. “Avista Corp’s understanding of the power markets and grid technologies gives us a great advantage in the marketplace, and they can apply their history of innovation and launching successful companies to help us build industry-specific solutions and technologies.”

“GreenVolts' technology will enable utility-scale solar near the point of use at competitive prices," says Greenlight director Jim Trousdale. “GreenVolts has shown steady progress on this promising technology with its keen focus on serving utilities and disciplined approach to product development,” adds Roger Woodworth, VP for Sustainable Energy Solutions at Avista Utilities and a strategic adviser to GreenVolts.

GreenVolts also announced that its CarouSol tracking system has begun producing energy at Avista’s Clean Energy Test Site in a demonstration project that was announced in June (when Avista also made a strategic investment in GreenVolts). The project is intended to record performance data over two years and to produce test data validating long-term system performance and costs.

The CarouSol system is a low profile platform that tracks the sun as it moves across the sky and concentrates 625 times the sun’s energy onto its 40%-efficient solar cells, requiring less land area and half the capital investment of conventional flat-panel PV technologies . The firm says that its design also allows it to be plugged into the grid nearer to the demand than any other technology, delivering up to 20MW of solar energy where it is needed most. GreenVolts has also designed the system so it can scale production quickly and cheaply.

Also, in late June , GreenVolts was chosen by Pacific Gas & Electric Co ( PG&E) to build GV1, a 2MW facility on eight acres in Tracy, northern California that will be the world’s largest concentrating photovoltaic plant. The firm is on track to deliver the first phase in late 2008.

GreenVolts recruits Global Supply Chain and Government Relations VPs

In mid-October, GreenVolts recruited Shaun Ferguson as VP of Global Supply Chain and Craig Lewis as VP of Government Relations.

Ferguson has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and outsourced management, building and managing worldwide supply chains for large manufacturing contracts. He held a number of positions in the contract manufacturing industry, including VP of global operations for Sanmina-SCI. He has also built and managed teams in both materials and manufacturing operations for the aerospace industry at Space Systems Loral and Northrop Grumman.

Lewis has more than 20 years of experience of building government relationships at the state, federal and international levels across a number of high-growth industries (including solar, wireless, and semiconductor). He owned and operated an independent government relations consultancy, catering for solar technology companies. Also, Lewis has held senior corporate development and external relations positions at wireless and semiconductor firms including Qualcomm, Ericsson, LinCom Wireless, Comarco Wireless, and Altera. He was active in lobbying for the long-sought approval of CDMA technology in China, and led the establishment of several successful business operations throughout Asia.

“Each of these key new hires will help GreenVolts prepare for the rapid growth of the market for renewable energy here in the US, while also working to ramp up our efforts in expanding abroad,” said CEO Bob Cart. “Craig will help pave the way at all levels of government, while Shaun will ensure our ability to compete anywhere in the world,” he adds.

Previously, in early September, GreenVolts also recruited Joseph ‘Chip’ Krauskopf as chief operating officer and Stephen Smith as director of project operations (developing and managing project deployments). “Their skill sets and deep breadth of experience will help us better serve customers throughout the entire product development cycle, including eventual system deployment,” said Cart.

Krauskopf brings business management expertise, a product development discipline and experience in high-volume manufacturing. During 23 years at Intel Corp, where he held senior product development roles, he built and managed teams worldwide, while creating as well as supporting numerous product families.

Solar power veteran Smith has deployed more than 20MW of turnkey photovoltaic solutions on behalf of clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to state and municipal government facilities. He spent seven years managing projects at PowerLight Corp, and most recently was director of field operations at SolFocus, where he led its ISFOC project deployment.

See related items:

Wakonda named Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year and awarded $900,000 DOE funding

Emcore receives record concentrator photovoltaic cell order

Emcore claims record efficiency for volume-production, multi-junction solar cell aimed at terrestrial applications

Spectrolab’s new terrestrial solar cell smashes 40% efficiency barrier

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