Intel Capital, the investment arm of semiconductor giant Intel, is looking overseas for its latest ventures and today announced it has invested in two Chinese cleantech firms. Intel says it has invested $20 million in Chinese thin-film solar provider Trony Solar, and has signed an agreement to invest in a large-scale electricity storage specialist in China NP Holdings Ltd.
Intel’s investments come from its $500 million China Technology Fund II, which it established in April of this year. Intel has been investing in Chinese companies for more than a decade starting with its first $200 million China Technology Fund, but these are the company’s first cleantech ventures in the country.
Founded in 1993, Trony is headquartered in Shen Zhen and has been developing low-cost building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). The solar maker works with crystalline and amorphous silicon and designs cells for indoor and outdoor applications. The company has more than 600 employees and a production capacity of 35 megawatts (MW). With this new capital from Intel, Trony plans to scale production up to 105 MW by early next year and eventually wants to increase that to 1,000 MW, mostly in the form of wall-integrated amorphous silicon products.
Trony joins a number of other solar plays in Intel’s growing portfolio. Intel has already invested in three solar startups this year — SpectraWatt, an Intel spin off, German thin-film maker SulfurCell and Voltaix, a manufacturer of chemicals for chip and solar fabrication.