SolFocus was listed as "restructured for sale" in The List of Deceased Solar Companies. We're going to have to change that staus to "closed."
The company's website, phone line, and Twitter feed are dead.
Late last year, SolFocus, the pioneering concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) firm, informed GTM that it was "restructuring the company for sale," in the words of VP Nancy Hartsoch. The firm's investors "decided they want to sell," said Hartsoch.
Today, a contact close to the firm said that the solar hardware aspirant is in "active negotiations for sale." Another contact close to the firm spoke of assets and IP for sale.
It's over for SolFocus, which is sad news for one of the CPV industry's stalwarts -- and the hundreds of people who worked for the firm.
I've reached out to board member Scott Sandell of NEA for comment, but he is on sabbatical. In addition to SolFocus, Sandell is also an investor in Fisker, HelioVolt, and Bloom Energy.
SolFocus deployed 18 megawatts of high-concentration PV over its lifetime but was never able to reach viable scale or cope with the price plunge of crystalline silicon photovoltaics.
NEA was the firm's largest investor and had put $60 million into the company since 2006. Total investment to date was $230 million from NEA, NGEN, Apex, et al. Last year, in a clear act of desperation, SolFocus was working with venture investment bank Advanced Equities to raise a Round E of VC funding, but Advanced Equities had its own issues and soon 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. The largest currently operating CPV power plant in the world is the 30-megawatt Alamosa project with hardware from the struggling CPV firm Amonix.
The only CPV company that seems to have a shot is Soitec, by virtue of its deep-pocketed parent and vertical integration. Or perhaps there is a new CPV startup out there that can figure out how to compete with c-Si.
Consider the plight of CPV semiconductor suppliers Spectrolab, JDSU, and Solar Junction: these makers of triple-junction compound solar cells are running out of customers. 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 less than $2.00 per watt.
Watch a video from better days at SolFocus: