Getting cheaper solar power into the market isn’t just about making the solar cells more efficient at converting sunlight into energy, it’s also about streamlining the manufacturing. To that end, Israel’s BrightView Systems said it has raised $6 million in its first round of funding that the company will use to develop a system it hopes could help solar reach grid parity.
BrightView also named Eyal Harel to the chairman’s seat. Harel previously served as co-president of Israel’s Orbotech, a supplier of high-speed automated optical inspection systems for printed circuit board and flat-panel display manufacturing.
BrightView hasn’t released any details of its solar manufacturing technology, saying in a statement only that it addresses some “key production gaps.” The company said the funding will allow it to introduce its first system to the market this year.
This looks like one of the first cleantech investment for Hasso Plattner, but Israel Cleantech Ventures already has a number of cleantech firms in its portfolio, including Tel Aviv-based Pythagoras Solar. Pythagoras is equally sketchy in the details department, saying on its web site only that it’s aiming “to combine software models, optic design, semiconductor processes, materials science, and mass manufacturing techniques” to build cost-effective solar products. Pythagoras raised $10 million in a Series A round of funding last February.
BrightView said its systems are designed to enable solar cell manufacturers to maximize production efficiency, indicating that it plans to license its technology or sell equipment to larger manufacturers, rather than go head-to-head with the likes of industry leader Applied Materials, or some of the newly formed powerhouses.