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Southern California-based Amonix has scored a major round of funding for its concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems. The company has raised $129.4 million in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins, according to the New York Times.
Concentrating photovoltaic systems offer many benefits over traditional solar technology. CPVs are more efficient, since they use lenses to concentrate sunlight into high efficiency solar cells, which can generate more electricity than standard photovoltaic technology. Amonix’s multijunction cells are also vastly different than average silicon cells — they were first built for satellite use and utilize cheaper semiconducting materials.
CPVs also require less land than other solar technologies and don’t need water to generate electricity, according to Nathaniel Bullard, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst. In short, CPVs solve some of the major issues usually associated with solar technologies.
Amonix’s CEO, Brian Robertson, said that the company has managed the difficult task of making CPVs cost-competitive and has demonstrated the effectiveness of its technology at small solar farms in the U.S. and Spain. He also said that its CPV units are easy to deploy — they’re shipped to sites in 12 pieces and can be assembled in a few hours. Each unit is 77 by 50 feet and can generate 72 kilowatts of electricity by tracking the sun.
The company plans to build solar farms in the Southwestern U.S. desert that could connect to existing power transmission infrastructure and would generate 1 – 20 megawatts of electricity. SolFocus, a competing company, began construction last month of a one megawatt CPV plant for a community college located in a desert northeast of Los Angeles. Another company, Concentrix Solar, is building a one megawatt plant at Chevron’s molybdenum mine in Questa, N.M., according to the NYT.
Adams Street Partners, PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund, Angeleno Group, Vedanta Capital, New Silk Route, The Westly Group and MissionPoint Capital Partners joined in on the funding round. Amonix previously raised $40 million from Lazard Freres and Company.