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Double California boost for CPV firms

GreenVolts bags another $30 million in venture capital, while installations using SolFocus' concentrator technology get approval to receive the Golden State's financial incentives.

California may be set to rival Spain as the global center for concentrator photovoltaics (CPV), following two key developments within the state that were announced on September 22.

First, GreenVolts, the San Franciscan utility-scale solar technology company that is busy building the world s largest CPV plant based on III-V semiconductors, has closed a $30 million round of financing.

The Series B round was secured with funding from Oak Investment Partners, a US venture capital firm with offices in nearby Palo Alto.

GreenVolts, which expects to complete the first megawatt of its "GV1" power plant later this year, says that it will use the new cash to expand its organization, accelerate development efforts, and scale manufacturing capacity to meet the level of deployments anticipated in 2009.

"We will soon be generating energy from the sun at what will be the world s largest non-silicon CPV power plant," claimed the firm s founder and CEO, Bob Cart.

Like GreenVolts, CPV system provider SolFocus believes that the use of high optical concentration and III-V cells will ultimately provide solar power for the lowest cost in areas of high solar irradiation.

Also based in the Bay Area, SolFocus has received a massive boost with news that the California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved its flagship product, making it the first CPV technology to become eligible for state subsidies.


"The thumbs-up from the CEC is another proof point that CPV technology is a serious, scalable source of clean, renewable electricity," said SolFocus president Mark Crowley.

To make the list, SolFocus SF-1000P concentrator panels had to meet the CEC s rigorous reliability and safety standards, as well as those of the California Public Utility Commission.

With its name now on the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Photovoltaic Modules Renewables Equipment List, the approval means that the CPV technology qualifies for rebates against the cost of installing new solar equipment in the state.

The two developments should be particularly good news for III-V cell manufacturer Emcore, which has supply deals with both GreenVolts and SolFocus, as well as its California-based rival Spectrolab.

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