When SolFocus execs aren’t hobnobbing with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, it looks like they’ve been hard at work signing deals in Europe. On Monday morning the startup announced that it has signed a $103 million (€80M) agreement with EMPE Solar to install more than 10 megawatts (MW) of its concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology — enough power for 40,000 residents — in Southern Spain. SolFocus says this will be the largest CPV deployment in the world.
While we don’t know much about EMPE Solar, Spain has been one of the leaders in solar installments due to its aggressive subsidy program. SolFocus’ European headquarters are in Madrid, Spain and the company already completed its portion of a 3 MW CPV installation owned by Spain’s Institute of Concentration Photovoltaic Systems (ISFOC).
The idea behind CPV, which uses mirrors and lenses to concentrate sunlight onto tiny, highly efficient solar cells, is to cut back on one of the most expensive parts of traditional photovoltaic systems, the silicon-based solar panel, and deliver the middle range of solar power needed for commercial installations. CPV projects normally provide more power output than a solar panel on a residential rooftop, but less than a large, utility-scale solar-thermal project in the desert. (See our list of 13 CPV startups here).
SolFocus is one of the more well-funded startups in the space, and it raised $95 million from New Enterprise Associates, Moser Baer India, David Gelbaum, Metasystem Group, NGEN Partners and Yellowstone Capital. The company is reportedly looking to add between $60 million and $80 million in a Series C round.