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Solyndra Raised Close to $1B, and Other Fast Facts From Its S-1

One of the most interesting parts about a startup registering for an IPO is that the company has to file an S-1 form, which is made publicly available on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s web site. If the startup is particularly stealthy, then an S-1 can be the first time a lot of information about the company’s financials, business model, and operating costs become available. That’s the case with Solyndra, a thin film solar tube maker that kept quiet for several years and which registered for an IPO just this past Friday (SEC filing here).

We spent a couple hours today wading through the over 145-page document and decided to pull out these tidbits, including that as of Oct. 3, Solyndra says, it has raised “approximately $970 million through equity financings.” As of early September the company was saying it had raised close to $800 million.

Grid Parity by 2012: Solyndra hopes by 2012 it will be able “to deliver photovoltaic systems for commercial rooftops that produce electricity at rates that are competitive with the retail price of electricity in key markets on a non-subsidized basis.” In other words, it basically wants to reach grid parity — the holy grail of the solar biz — within, give or take, two years.

Just Started Selling: Solyndra just started commercial shipments in July 2008 and says it sold 17.2 MW of panels in the nine months ended Oct. 3, compared with 1.6 MW for the fiscal year ended Jan. 3, 2009. Solyndra says its first factory has produced less than 30 MW of output.

Bulk of Customers in Germany, Europe: Solyndra says during the fiscal year ended Jan. 3, 69 percent of revenue was from sales to customers in Germany. And over 85 percent of its shipments to date have been to Europe. Customers include Alwitra GmbH, Carlisle Syntec, Geckologic, Phoenix Solar, Premier Solar Systems, Solar Power, Sunconnex, Sun System and USE Umwelt Sonne Energie.

Those customers also make up a large percentage of business currently. Solyndra says for the fiscal year ended Jan. 3, revenue from Geckologic and Phoenix Solar accounted for 29 percent and 27 percent, respectively, of total revenue. For the nine months ended Oct. 3, revenue from USE Umwelt Sonne Energie, Carlisle Syntec and Alwitra accounted for 19 percent, 17 percent and 13 percent, respectively, of total revenue.

Future Volume Plans: Solyndra says it has “framework agreements with system integrators and roofing materials manufacturers outlining general terms for the delivery of up to 865 MW of our photovoltaic systems by the end 2013.” Its first factory will have an annualized production run rate of 110 MW by the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010, and its second factory will have an annualized production run rate of 500 MW.

Formerly Known As: Quick trivia. When Solyndra was incorporated back in May 2005 it was originally named Gronet Technologies, for founder and CEO Christian Gronet. In January 2006 it was renamed Solyndra.

Argonaut’s Share: Argonaut Private Equity and its affiliates have “approximately 35.7 percent” of the “outstanding common stock on an as-converted basis,” and has the right to purchase “up to 15 percent of the aggregate number of shares offered in this offering at the initial price to the public, but is under no obligation to purchase any shares.”

Revenues, Losses: Solyndra generated revenues of $58.82 million for the nine months ending Oct 3, 2009, but has had an expanding net loss of $27.2 million in 2006, $114.1 million in 2007, $232.1 million in 2008 and $119.8 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2009.

Cost Per Factory: Solyndra estimates that it will cost $1.38 billion to build its second factory, Fab 2. Those costs include “the total capital required for the land, buildings, improvements, manufacturing equipment and certain sales, marketing and other startup costs. Solyndra says after its first two factories, it will look to build others using the proprietary info it learned through these first two.

What’s The Warranty?: Solyndra’s tubular panels have a warranty guarantee that they will have a minimum peak power output under standard test conditions of at least 90 percent of their initial power rating for the first decade, and at least 80 percent of their initial power rating during the following 15 years.

Valuable Founder: Founder and CEO Gronet has a base salary of $400,000 for fiscal year 2009, and has key person life insurance.

R&D Budget: To date Solyndra has invested at least $290 million into research and development.

Raised Almost a Billion Dollars: Solyndra says through Oct. 3, 2009, the company has raised “an aggregate of approximately $970 million through equity financings, including $286 million from the issuance of Series F convertible preferred stock in the quarter ended October 3, 2009.” As of early September Solyndra had raised close to $800 million.

Capital Expenditure Ramp-up: The capital expenditures at Solyndra are quickly ramping up, growing from $5.1 million in 2006, $94.8 million in 2007, $144.5 million in 2008, and $101.5 million for the nine months ended Oct. 3, 2009. Solyndra estimate its total capital expenditures for the remaining three months of 2009 will be about $87 million, and estimates that in 2010 its capital expenditures will reach $590 million.

Cool Roof Project: Solyndra says that installers can bundle its tube-shaped solar panels with “a new reflective ‘cool’ roof,” that can offer “building energy efficiency and solar electricity production.” And that cool roof project could be eligible for a 30 percent U.S. federal investment tax credit.

Efficiency Metrics: Solyndra says its solar cells have a conversion efficiency of approximately 11-14 percent.

How Many Patents?: The company has had five patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and has filed over 150 patent applications, covering both domestic and foreign rights.

Who Owns What: Shares beneficially owned prior to the offering include 35.74 percent for Argonaut Ventures, 6.81 percent for CMEA Ventures, 8.06 percent for Gronet, 11 percent for Madrone Partners, 5.94 percent for Redpoint Ventures, 7.5 percent for RockPort Capital Partners, and 10.19 percent for US Venture Partners.

21 Responses to “Solyndra Raised Close to $1B, and Other Fast Facts From Its S-1”

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  2. Another interesting fact is payment for their products. How are all these potential customers going to pay for the thin-film PVs? I know one issue with First Solar is that a lot of their customers take their time paying for the PVs, this means they have quite a big account receivable…

  3. There is no mention in the S-1 of manufactured cost per watt. Since it is such a key “talking point” in the industry today – it has to make any knowledgeable person at least somewhat skeptical…..obvious “guess” is that it is higher than they would want the investor to know – other reason ?? Please let me know.