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Kamuela, HI
Kamuela, HI

You’ve heard environmentalists and politicians (California Treasurer Phil Angelides, for example) argue that investing in green technologies is good for everyone: The earth stays green, and if green companies stay on the cutting edge, they can sell the technology elsewhere, and growth will boost jobs.

Turns out, that argument may not be such a stretch. Powerlight, of Berkeley, CA, a large venture-backed solar installer, is the latest to show how it is done. It has just won a contract to help build the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power project: a 11-megawatt solar power plant in Serpa, Portugal.

Powerlight won’t tell us what portion of the $75 million transaction they pick up (they are in a consortium with GE and others) but the company’s engineers figure out the best configurations for the solar project at hand, and so play a key role. Powerlight has been hiring engineers and project managers in Berkeley to keep up with all the work. The company has been growing at a 70 percent clip for the past few few years, has well north of $100M in revenue, and will see similar growth this year, Powerlight Executive Vice President Howard Wenger tells us. They’ve hired 50 people in the last 12 months, for a total of 140.

Here is the list of the largest installations in the world, and you’ll see that this latest Portugal is the biggest by a comfortable margin.

Powerlight recently installed the panels at Silicon Valley’s largest facility, Microsoft’s campus, which we wrote about here.

The company scored $3 million last year from San Francisco’s Bay Area Equity Fund, which is managed by J.P. Morgan. The company says it is profitable.