We've long maintained that concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar is a niche product, albeit with some potentially large niches -- notably, high DNI areas with limited water resources.
But scaling-up and raising money from skittish VCs for solar startups has become particularly challenging in this post-Solyndra era. (Although a few CPV firms have received funding of late, including Solar Junction, Rehnu, Semprius, and GreenVolts.)
Faced with these difficulties, Energy Innovations (EI), an early entrant into CPV, is putting itself up for sale, according to sources close to the company. Rumors have been swirling about the firm having to take difficult financial steps to continue its operations. Sources close to the company have told GTM that the firm will be acquired by a strategic investor in the next four to six weeks. Some form of debtor protection might have to be taken prior to the envisioned sale.
Investors in EI include IdeaLab and Mohr Davidow. Mohr Davidow's Erik Straser is listed as a board member on the EI website, but has not been on the board for some time -- which leads one to suspect that IdeaLab may be the primary shareholder of the firm.
The new normal for solar startups and struggling public solar firms is investment from Asian and European strategic investors. (Rob Day recently weighed in on the topic.) Examples of the strategic investment from a corporate entity include Total's investment in SunPower, SK Innovation's investment in HelioVolt, Ascent Solar's Taiwanese corporate help from TFG Radiant, Stion's Korean investment, and GreenVolts' investment from ABB, to name a few.
Energy Innovations' CPV design is not without its unique qualities. The firm has provided CPV product options, including a ground mount, a roof mount, and a carport configuration for their 2-axis CPV assemblies. The trackers are also of the micro rather than the macro variety.
Representatives of the firm claim that there is a healthy order backlog and that significant inroads have been made in regions with high feed-in tariffs and requirements for low-profile modules.