Soliant Energy said Tuesday that it has raised $21 million in venture capital, including a $2.5 million stake from GE Energy Financial Services.

Monrovia, Calif.-based Soliant was founded in 2005 by former NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists as Practical Instruments, and originally planned to develop a low-concentration photovoltaic system to be named Heliotube.

But the company decided last year to license that technology and shift focus to developing a high-concentration product (see Soliant Switches Focus). The company said it would rather focus on developing technology that uses lenses to magnify the sunlight more intensely than can be done with the low-concentration technology. A high-concentrationsolarsystem also is more expensive to build than a low-concentration system.

Soliant says it can make a product that can concentrate sunlight into a cell 500 times smaller than the area from which the cell would be collecting sunlight. It plans to open a 40-megawatt plant in late 2009.

The $21 million investment, announced at the Solar Power International conference in San Diego, was led by Convexa Capital and includes investments from previous investors RockPort Capital Partners, Nth Power, Trinity Ventures and Rincon Venture Partners.

In October 2007, Soliant raised $8 million in a Series A round of funding from RockPort Capital Partners, Nth Power, Trinity Ventures and Rincon Venture Partners. In March 2007 the company received $4 million from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its "Solar America" initiative.