March 18, 2010

VentureWire

Solar Cell Maker Solar Junction Heats Up With $13.3M Series C


Returning investors have given solar cell developer Solar Junction Inc. a $13.3 million Series C round as the company prepares to demonstrate its wares to major photovoltaic companies who could become customers.

The round was led by New Enterprise Associates and joined by Advanced Technology Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, all previous backers, said Diandra Weldon, Solar Junction's marketing manager. The company previously raised $16 million, she said.

Based in San Jose, Solar Junction is hoping to sell its tiny solar panels - made up of semiconductor material - in the concentrated solar photovoltaic market, Weldon said. The panels are meant to go inside the larger solar panels that are often affixed to rooftops and other areas.

Solar Junction claims its panels are more efficient and less expensive than other solar cells on the market.

"Solar Junction will be providing the industry's highest efficiency cells, thanks to their ‘lattice matching technology,' which minimizes the defects between the junctions of semiconductor materials that they are using," said Andrew Friendly, the Advanced Technology Ventures principal who spearheaded the firm's investment.

The company aims to sell to solar panel companies like Soliant Energy Inc., SolFocus Inc. and GreenVolts Inc., said Weldon.

Solar Junction will soon host a tour of its facilities for executives of these companies and others, offering them the chance to test the efficiency of the cells themselves.

"They want cells tested in-house," Weldon said. "They want their efficiency to go up. They want not as many defects inside the cells."

Solar Junction aims to give them what they want, then ramp up production to meet demand. The company does its own manufacturing, she said.

The company was founded in 2007 and has 35 employees, she said. Valuation was not disclosed.