Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Solaredge partners with BP Solar to test solar efficiency products

SolarEdge is joining forces with BP Solar to test new products designed to help solar modules operate more efficiently in harvesting the sun's rays, the companies said today in a press release.

BP Solar, a unit of oil giant BP Plc, will integrate into its solar modules SolarEdge's electronics that are designed to reduce the losses in solar arrays. Those losses can cut their power output by as much as 20 percent.

In support of this activity, BP Solar and SolarEdge have been awarded a research grant by the Israeli and US governments as part of the BIRD Foundation (Bi-national Industrial Research and Development), which contributes to joint development.

Solar panels typically turn between 10 to 15 percent of the sun's light into electricity, but that output can be reduced by partial shading of the arrays and other glitches in the electronic equipment that transports power between the panels.

SolarEdge, based in Herzliya, Israel, produces equipment that can help eliminate inefficiencies in the solar module arrays.

The company's products also make the solar systems safer, according to Chief Executive Officer Guy Sella, and can be used to provide data to customers on cells or modules that are damaged and not producing power at their capacity.

SolarEdge currently has three products, including a chipset called the PowerBox that manufacturers can embed into their solar modules to boost power output, but can also be added on as a retrofit. There’s also an inverter and web-based monitoring software for identifying maintenance needs and energy loss, and preventing theft.

In an interview with Earth2Tech, Sella said SolarEdge is on track to reach “general availability” between late July and September of this year. The company is in the final stages of negotiations with two manufacturers and expects to complete those by the end of June. By July, SolarEdge plans to establish a subsidiary in Germany, and by September or October Sella expects to have a presence in the U.S., on the West Coast.

According to a report in Reuters, SolarEdge expects to have orders for equipment that generate more than 12 megawatts of electricity by the end of 2009, and as much as 80 MW in 2010. The company expects to be cash-flow positive in the fourth quarter of 2010, and could launch an initial public offering of shares in the second half of 2011, Sella said.

In December 2008, SolarEdge completed a $23 million Series B financing round. Vertex Venture Capital led the round and was joined by the company's existing investors, Genesis Partners, Walden International, and Opus Capital.

Sella told Earth2Tech that for the last three to four months SolarEdge has been in talks with an investor who may add $3 million to $5 million to the Series B round. He said they would be a “very big strategic partner” if the deal comes through.

SolarEdge has raised nearly $35 million in venture capital funding since its inception in 2006.

Earlier this week, SolarEdge announced the appointment of Zvi Lando as its VP of Global Sales.

Lando joins SolarEdge from Applied Materials where he served as vice president, general manager of the Baccini Cell Systems (BCS) Solar Business Group,
the global leader in screen printing equipment for the solar industry.

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