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DIY Solar: GreenRay Raises First VC Funds

GreenRaylogoThere’s been a wealth of companies trying to do for the solar industry what Apple (s APPL) has done for consumer electronics: make a product that’s plug-n-play, low-cost and well designed. Here’s one that’s come out of the woodwork this morning that’s found a couple well-known backers and is aiming at DIY solar junkies. GreenRay, a Massachusetts-based startup that has built a solar module connected to a microinverter (a shrunk-down inverter that changes solar power from DC to AC), announced this morning that it’s raised $2 million in its first round of equity financing from David Gelbaum’s quiet Quercus Trust and 21 Ventures.

The 3-year-old GreenRay, which was founded by employees from solar materials company Schott Solar, says its secret sauce lies in its patent-pending microinverter, which is connected to an energy management system, and the panel itself. Most solar panels that end up on rooftops are connected to a centralized inverter which converts all of the panels’ DC power into AC to be used by the grid and the home. But a developing trend in the solar industry is to use microinverters connected to each panel (or even embedded in each panel like Enphase Energy plans), which is more efficient and can save on cost. GreenRay says its “AC Solar Modules” are “installation-friendly,” and reduce the cost of solar generation.

GreenRay says it will use the new funds — it previously received $3.5 million in government funding to develop the concept — to commercialize its solar panel AND microinverter set-up. 21 Ventures partner David Anthony, said in the release that he sees GreenRay’s solar panel “as a disruptive technology that will move the solar industry into the mass do-it-yourself solar market.” We’re still waiting to hear back on some of the details, like cost, design and time-to-market of the panels.

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