SolarBridge raises $19M for solar technology

Faith Merino · June 20, 2011 · Short URL:

The company gets support from existing investors Rho Ventures, Battery Ventures, and others

SolarBridge Technologies, an AC module system developer for the solar industry, on Monday announced the close of its $19 million Series C round of funding from existing investors Rho VenturesBattery Ventures, and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. This round brings the company’s total raised to $46 million.

Originally founded in 2004 as SmartSpark Energy Systems to commercialize electronics technologies created at the University of Illinois, SolarBridge made a pivotal shift in 2009 to focus exclusively on the solar industry. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the company now develops module-integrated microinverters for the solar industry. (Module-integrated microinverters are all the rage among young Austin hipsters.)

SolarBridge’s Pantheon microinverter is a DC-to-AC energy converter that allows for easy installation, harvests more energy from each panel, and lowers the overall cost of energy.

The entire AC module system consists of the Pantheon microinverter; the PC-Dock, a plug-and-play docking station for the microinverter; the Power Manager, which is the communications hub and monitors the performance of every module in the system; and the Power Portal, a Web-based management system. In short, SolarBridge’s AC module system eliminates the need for a central inverter or multiple string inverters, which typically require a complete replacement over the course of the lifetime of a solar installation.

In 2010, SolarBridge raised a Series B round of funding that allowed it to double the size of its headquarters in Austin. SolarBridge is not disclosing the new investors who contributed to this round.

The company said in a statement that it plans to use the new funds to increase production capacity, expand sales support and logistics organizations, and beef up the research and development teams. Additionally, the company is hiring and plans to increase its headcount to 75 employees worldwide by the end of the year.

SolarBridge is the latest of a string of solar-focused companies to raise funds. Last week, Google announced its intention to invest $280 million to create a fund that will allow solar-installation company SolarCity to finance solar installations, allowing home-owners and building-owners to lease their solar installations and make monthly payments over the course of several years, if necessary. 

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