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solfocus.pngSolFocus, a Silicon Valley company that uses mirrors to concentrate the sun on solar cells, continues to soak up large amounts of cash.

Two years ago, the company created a frenzy among investors, and took $32 million from investors, or more than twice the amount expected. It did so because investors valued the company so highly (meaning the company could give away less shares in return for the cash). Now it has raised $52 million more, according to a press release this morning, with about half going toward launching SolFocus Europe, a subsidiary in Madrid, Spain.

It’s one more sign of how hot solar technology is, especially new technology like SolFocus,’ which promises to produce electricity without using so much expensive silicon.

The parent company, based in Mountain View, Calif., will hold about 70 percent of the new subsidiary, with the remainder going to investors in the latest round, which include New Enterprise Associates, Moser Baer India, NGEN Partners, Yellowstone Capital Inc. and other undisclosed investors.

NEA’s Scott Sandell, the partner who helped bid up the value of SolFocus during the investment two years ago, will take a board of SolFocus Europe. The company’s chief executive said it’s easier to take an alternative energy company public in Europe, citing one reason for the move.

SolFocus will only begin selling its product in the fourth quarter of next year, raising the question of whether the company intends to go public before production, in order to tap into public markets to help it expand.


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