SoloPower Raises $43.7 Million More To Make Roll-Up Solar Panels

SoloPower— a manufacturer of flexible, thin-film solar cells and modules— has raised another $43.7 million in an equity round this month, according to a new SEC filing. Investors in the round include: Greentech Capital in New York, and Thomas Weisel Partners in San Francisco. Earlier investors in the SoloPower include: Hudson Clean Energy Partners, Crosslink Capital, Convexa, and Firsthand.

In February this year, SoloPower locked a $197 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office to build a “facility that, when completed and at full capacity, is expected to produce approximately 400MW of thin-film Photovoltaic (PV) modules annually,” according to a company press statement.

Based in San Jose, SoloPower is currently building its largest manufacturing plant (with the aforementioned funds) in Oregon. The company expects to spend $364 million on building the plant, and to employ about 500 people, full-time, once the facility is running at full capacity.

The company uses a roll-to-roll electroplating processes to manufacture its roll-up solar panels, a technique it has claimed will keep the costs of its CIGS (or thin-film) solar panels competitive versus other technologies on the market. While SoloPower has attracted a lot of cash and support, it faces stiff competition from Chinese manufacturers like Trina Solar, and public companies like First Solar, also in the thin-film game.