Optimize that solar power

SolarEdge files for $125M IPO on the back of growth of solar gear

Nine-year-old Israeli startup SolarEdge is planning on raising $125 million in an IPO, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. The company, which plans to trade on the NASDAQ under symbol SEDG, makes electronics and inverters that can monitor and optimize the energy from solar panels.

Inverters convert the direct current generated by solar panels into alternating current that feeds into the grid or is used by the building or onsite, and they are necessary for a solar panel system to operate. Traditional solar panel systems commonly use a centralized inverter to convert the collective energy from the system, but a growing amount of next-generation inverter companies, like SolarEdge, are making systems that convert and optimize the energy from each individual panel of the system.

solar panels

Now that the cost of solar panels is cheaper than ever, solar companies are highly focused on squeezing as much efficiency out of panels and systems as possible. Gear like the kind SolarEdge produces can boost each individual panel to its maximum output, no matter if other panels in the system have become shaded, dirty or just aren’t operating effectively.

SolarEdge, which is run by co-founder Guy Sella, sells its devices to installer companies like SolarCity, which made up 19 percent of SolarEdge’s revenue in 2014. To date the company has sold 4.5 million of its power optimizers and a little over 200,000 of its inverters. About 1.5 million of those power optimizers were shipped in the second half of 2014.

The growth of the overall solar market means growth in SolarEdge’s sales. For the full year 2014, SolarEdge generated $133.22 million in revenue, up from $79.04 million in 2013. The company employs close to 300 people, and works with contractors (Flextronics and Jabil Circuit) to manufacturer its gear.

solar panel

But the solar gear market is difficult, competitive, and a relatively low-margin business. SolarEdge lost $21.38 million for the year 2014, which was a smaller loss than the $28.18 million it lost in 2013. The company has yet to turn a profit over its existence (shipping product since 2010) and has accumulated a deficit of $135.2 million as of December 31, 2014. The funding will likely be used to expand its sales significantly and pay off some of its debts.

SolarEdge has also previously raised many tens of millions of dollars in equity (series A to E) and debt from investors including Opus Capital Venture Partners, ORR Partners, Genesis Partners, Pacven Walden Ventures, Vertex, Norwest Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.