Tigo Energy has raised $10 million to march toward commercial production of its solar panel monitoring system.
The Los Gatos, Calif.-based startup got the second round of funding from ICV, Matrix Partners, OVP Venture Partners and Clal Energy. The company previous raised $6 million last year.
Founded in 2007, Tigo has seen its monitoring system deployed in 18 projects in the United States, Europe and Japan. The company's device is attached to each panel in a system to harvest as much energy from each panel as possible. Currently, most of the solar energy system is strung together so that when one panel isn't performing well because of it's in the shade or covered in debris, it lowers the performances of the rest of the panels in the system.
Tigo's system also comes with a software to monitor each panel's power output. The startup claims that its system would squeeze 20 percent more energy from each system.
Other companies have developed hardware to combat the same problem. Enphase Energy and SolarBridge Technologies, for example, promote the use of microinverters instead of a centralized inverter for converting direct current from each panel to alternating current for feeding the grid. Using microinverters would ensure that the power produced from each panel is harvested. Enphase and SolarBridge also offer monitoring software as part of the package.
Tigo isn't developing microinverters. Its approach would be more akin to what National Semiconductor's new product, SolarMagic, a device that would be attached to each panel to squeeze more power from each panel and prevent the poor performing panels from affecting the power output of better ones. National Semi plans to launch the product tomorrow to coincide with the first day of Intersolar conference in Germany.