SolFocus, a pioneering concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) firm, is "restructuring the company for sale," according to VP Nancy Hartsoch. The firm's investors "have decided they want to sell," said Hartsoch.
SolFocus will have 18 megawatts of high concentration PV deployed in the field by yearend, along with a strong pipeline of future projects. The firm has had quarter-to-quarter growth in revenue for six consecutive quarters, according to Hartsoch, who added that the product in the field is outperforming expectations, and unlike some other CPV manufacturers, there are no product issues.
It's a cash flow problem for SolFocus, not product performance or lack of sales. And the hopeful path for the company is to find a buyer for the technology, project pipeline, and core team.
It's sad news for one of the CPV industry's stalwarts.
NEA is the firm's largest investor and has put $60 million into the company since 2006. Scott Sandell of NEA is on the board of the firm. Total investment to-date has been $230 million from NEA, NGEN, Apex et al. Earlier this year, SolFocus had been working with investment bank Advanced Equities to raise a Round E of VC funding, but Advanced Equities has its own issues and recently announced that it would be closing shop.
SolFocus was most recently working on developing a 450-megawatt solar project in the border region of northern Mexico. At 50 megawatts with the potential to expand to 450 megawatts, it could easily be one of the largest CPV developments on earth. The largest currently operating CPV power plant in the world is the 30-megawatt Alamosa project with hardware from the struggling CPV firm Amonix.
Spectrolab, JDSU, and Solar Junction are certified suppliers of the triple-junction compound semiconductor solar cells. JDSU has since discontinued its efforts in CPV.
The competition for CPV is still flat-panel PV, which has large-scale installations quoting all-in system prices of below $2.00 per watt. SolFocus joins GreenVolts, Energy Innovations, Skyline Solar, and Amonix as CPV players that have had to restructure, fold, or sell the business in today's merciless solar market.