SolFocus Raises $11.6M

SolFocus said Tuesday it had raised another $11.6 million for its solar concentrators from an unnamed hedge fund (see Earth2Tech and VentureBeat posts).

The announcement brings the company's total capital to $95.6 million. The news comes a month after the company announced it raised $52 million in a deal that included $24.6 million in Series-B financing for SolFocus and $27.4 in Series-A financing for its subsidiary, SolFocus Europe (see Cleantech Deal Roundup). SolFocus also closed a $32 million Series-A round last year.

The company, a Palo Alto Research Center spinoff, uses small lenses and curved mirrors to concentrate sunlight and direct it into solar cells. SolFocus claims its technology will enable it to cut the installed price of solar in half, to less than $4 per watt, and still make a healthy margin (see Concentrating the Sun).

SolFocus previously said it planned to reach full commercialization, with 100 megawatts of capacity, by the end of this year. It hasn't begun mass production yet, but has signed an agreement with Moser Baer to manufacture and distribute its concentrators.

It's not the only company working to bring solar concentrators to the market, however. Energy Innovations, Soliant, Concentrix Solar, Prism Solar Technologies and Stellaris are just a few of the others.

More Chip Companies Turn to Solar

Two semiconductor companies this week said they are entering the solar industry.

Micrel, a semiconductor company based in San Jose, Calif., said Monday it had signed a multimillion-dollar contract to produce solar cells. It mysteriously declined to name the solar company or to provide a timeline.

Solsonica, an Italian solar-cell manufacturer that spun off of memory back-end manufacturer EEMA Group, said it is converting its memory-chip line into a solar-cell production line. The company has contracted M+W Zander, a factory builder based in Stuttgart, Germany, to convert the line.

The announcements come after Applied Materials also on Monday announced it would buy Baccini, an Italian company that makes equipment for manufacturing crystalline silicon cells.