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Solaria Seeks $100M for Solar in Stripes

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Silicon solar startup Solaria is looking to more than double its funding with a new $100 million financing round, CEO Suvi Sharma confirmed with us today, and first reported by VentureWire. The Series D round would be used to add an additional 50-100 megawatts of production capacity by 2010 to its 25-megawatt line currently operating in the Philippines. To date, the 9-year-old startup has raised $77 million in funding.


The Fremont, Calif.-based startup takes standard crystalline silicon solar cells and slices them into thin strips, a process the company calls “cell multiplication technology.” The 2-millimeter-wide silicon strips are reassembled in a stripe pattern and then an optical concentrator is laid on top to focus light away from the gaps and onto the strips. The company says its unique module design has the same form, function and — most importantly — efficiency as traditional solar modules but uses half the amount of silicon material. Update: Solaria has a 10-year, 1.3-gigawatt solar cell supply deal with one of its backers, Australian German solar firm Q-Cells, that ensures it has access to materials.

In addition to Q-Cells, the company has other big backers, including Sigma Partners, NGEN and Moser Baer. The company has been relatively quiet since closing its $50 million Series C round in July 2007. The company is older than many other solar startups and has built an expansive partner network that includes BP Solar (s BP) and Spire. Sharma tells us the company’s current customers are large project developers but Solaria is developing a series of “specialty modules” for different market segments which it hopes to start bringing to market in 2010, and the company is looking to hire a number of engineers to finish R&D on these new products.

Image courtesy of Solaria.