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Solar tube maker Solyndra raising more funds

Solyndra Solar Panels Ready To Ship

Updated: Solyndra, the thin-film solar tube maker, has been planning on raising even more funds this year, hoping to reach a cash-flow-positive state in the fourth quarter of this year, Solyndra Director of Corporate Communications David Miller told me in April during a factory tour. According to a filing on Thursday, Solyndra has raised another $10.66 million in options, warrants or rights to acquire another security.

We reached out to the company and are waiting to hear back on more details of the funds and future fund-raising efforts. Clearly, $10 million isn’t going to get them very far, so I’d bet the company will be filing more fund-raising docs this year. Update: Karen Alter, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Solyndra, tells me that the deal has to do with “a private transaction with an existing investor in anticipation of future growth.”

Solyndra has already raised around a billion dollars in private equity and a coveted a $535 million loan guarantee to get to this point. Miller told me Solyndra hit $140 million in revenues in 2010, and the company plans to grow that substantially in 2011, as well.

Solyndra has been expanding its manufacturing in order to get its costs of production down. The idea behind the design of its tube-shaped solar panels is that it’s meant to have a lower overall cost of installation, and can also be used in places where flat heavy panels can’t be installed. But the catch is that the original manufacturing costs of the tube-shaped panels are higher than panels on the market, and other thin-film solar competitors.

Solyndra Panels Getting Inspected

Back in April, Miller showed me all the machines that together produce Solyndra’s unusual tubular solar systems, including machines that spray Solyndra’s solar materials — copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) — onto uniform layers on tubes, machines that place the materials into glass tubes, machines that insert gas-filled bags into the tubes, machines that spray inert gas into the tubes, and machines that assemble the tubes into the racking system. It’s a complex process, which is why costs have been higher.

As we wrote back in February, it’s a make or break year for Solyndra. The company shipped 60 MW of modules to customers in 2010, is approaching 100 MW installed by its customers, and hopes to boost its annual production rate to 200 MW by the end of this year, and 300 MW by the end of 2013. Production costs have fallen to less than $2.50 per watt, Ben Bierman, Solyndra’s EVP of operations and engineering, told us in an interview earlier this year.