SolarBridge, an aspirant in the growing photovoltaic microinverter sector, just raised a $19 million C round from existing investors Rho Ventures and Battery Ventures. There were also two unnamed new investors in the most recent round, one financial and one strategic, according to the firm. The company has raised more than $46 million to date.
Microinverters allow solar photovoltaic modules to harvest more energy and tolerate shade, and can simplify the design and installation process.
SolarBridge's microinverter has been developed to mount directly onto solar modules rather than act as a standalone unit and boasts a 25-year warranty. The Austin-based startup has development partnerships with module manufacturers Hanwa Solar One, Kyocera, and SunPower.
SolarBridge recently started production of their microinverter with Celestica in Dongguan, China and added some strength to its board. In a recent conversation with the CEO, Ron Van Dell, he stressed that SolarBridge's technology is not really a microinverter; it's an AC module (ACM). The firm is not selling the microinverter by itself but rather is engaging in strategic partnering. The CEO cited the bankability of an ACM from SolarBridge and an established module maker.
Here's a roundup of recent distributed solar electronics news. Last week, microinverter leader Enphase Energy announced the filing for their IPO. From the rumor mill: distributed electronics startup Array Converter is working with Canadian Solar to develop their unique "inverterless" architecture.
Over 40 firms have declared their intention to focus on developing microinverters or module-level optimization. For many more details on the dynamics of the microinverter sector, check out MJ Shiao's just-published research report on the Global PV Inverter Landscape.