Solaria Raises $40M to Double Its Module Production Capacity

California-based PV maker Solaria Corp. has increased $40 million to double its current manufacturing capacity to close to 500 megawatts by year’s ending. 

It’s Solaria's second significant public investment as many years, since it expands manufacturing to fulfill its modest but growing share of their residential and commercial solar markets in the U.S. and abroad. Solaria produces modules in California.

While the private company doesn’t give out current production figures, Wednesday’s investment enables Solaria to approach “close to 500 megawatts” annually ’s ending, CEO Suvi Sharma said in a Wednesday interview. “This ’s capacity — rsquo & that;s not always rsquo, what we all &;re generating today. ” 

The investment, directed by Cypress Semiconductors founder and past SunPower chairman T.J. Rodgers alongside Chilean investor Isadoro Quiroga, is Solaria's second in 18 months aimed at expanding its production capability. In January 2018it increased $23 million from Structure Capital, targeted at tripling its production capacity to approximately 300 megawatts by the end of that year. 

Solaria has raised over $200 million since its 1999 heritage as a maker of concentrating solar PV techniques, which utilize lenses and optics to concentrate sunlight on photovoltaic cells for more increased efficiency. However, Solaria sent only about 30 megawatts of these panels before the technology, Together with other people premised on competing against costly  crystalline silicon PV, was swamped by the rise of cheap silicon PV.   

Solaria pivoted to concentrate on creating a line of “high-performance, high-aesthetic” silicon PV modules directed at the residential and industrial markets, Sharma said. &ldquoWe carry cellswe cut into bits , we create a monolithic, high power density, high and reliable performance panel, & rdquo, and overlap one mobile across the other ; he said. 

Solaria began shipping that product three years ago, and “the company has scaled for us,&rdquo. Besides saying that it is profitable, he declined to provide any statistics for the company. 

Relationship with Enphase

Solaria got out of this utility-scale solar business altogether by its 2013 spinout of its solar tracking business, NEXTracker, that moved on to be bought by Flextronics (currently Flex) for $330 million in 2015. Today, Solaria’ldquo, & s &;regional and local contractors, & rdquo do jobs 5 kilowatts, 10 kilowatts at one time ; Sharma stated. While Solaria remains a little player comparative to giants such as China’s Jinko Solar or U.S.-based SunPower, it is gaining ground on its target markets,” he said. 

Wednesday’s investment will reinforce Solaria’s work with its AC module partner Enphase. In part, this ’s driven with the connections between Solaria’s brand new shareholders, Rodgers and Quiroga, both of whom may combine Solaria’s board of supervisors, along with also the Petaluma, Calif.-based microinverter maker. 

Rodgers gained a seat on Enphase’s board of directors at 2017, after he joined Kleiner Perkins chairman John Doerr in a pivotal $10 million investment to Enphase at a time when it was unable to survive from extreme competition from SolarEdge and other high-street manufacturers. As for Quiroga, in 2018, Enphase increased $20 million in private equity by a designee a board observer position or an entity.

Sharma explained that Quirora and Rodgers chose to invest to rsquo & the business in Solaria;s own virtues, not owing to its partnership with Enphase. But Enphase and Solaria are working together, ” he stated, equally on AC platforms now and on integrating solar batteries, electric vehicle chargers and house energy control systems. 

Solaria was a ancient partner for rsquo & Enphase;s move into AC modules, PV panels pre-integrated together with rsquo & Enphase . Both established their very first AC module at April 2018, and “we have a wonderful installer base for that, and it’so growing,” Sharma explained.  

“However past that, Solaria is moving forward in providing a complete solution to our traders, with storage, solar, auto charging — and we’re leveraging lots of the Enphase technologies to do so,” he said. He’s referring to Enphase’s so-called Ensemble platform, a mixture of batteries, inverters, associated switchgear and controllers, and a cloud-based applications platform which could extend controller to other essential household heaps. 

Allow it to be broadly available in 2020 and enphase intends to present Ensemble in 2019’s fourth quarter. While Solaria and Enphase haven’t produced any specific announcements regarding Ensemble, “the companies are working together to put everything to provide an entire solution,” Sharma stated.

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