SoloPower Raises Another $51.6 Million To Make Flexible, Thin Film Solar Panels

An SEC filing today revealed that SoloPower of San Jose, Calif. raised another $51.6 million venture investment to design, manufacture and distribute their thin-film solar technology.

The company makes flexible solar panels of the copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) variety. This technology is lighter weight, and flexible compared to polycrystalline silicon cell solar equipment. As an engineer from GridPoint recently told TechCrunch, flexible thin-film solar panels can be installed in where more rigid, heavier options won’t work.

According to SoloPower’s website:

[The company] uses a proprietary electroplating-based process to manufacture its CIGS cells on flexible metal foil. The devices are then processed in a moduling line and laminated in an encapsulation system that provides a moisture barrier and environmental integrity. The company expects…to address the commercial and industrial rooftop and distributed solar power generation markets.

This fall, SoloPower attained safety certifications from Underwriter Laboratories (UL) — an organization that tests and certifies product safety internationally — and others that enabled it to sell in new markets. Its current customers (as of Dec. 2010) are based in: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, and Korea, and multiple locations in North America.

Last February, SoloPower raised about $45 million in debt financing. It is also seeking a possible $190 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to grow its manufacturing business, and the Portland Business Journal reports today, a $20 million state energy loan in Oregon to build a plant in Portland.

SoloPower’s new venture round came from its prior backers: Crosslink Capital, Convexa and Hudson Clean Energy Partners, according to the filing.