Toronto-based Morgan Solar, maker of a new type of concentrated solar PV system based on light-guiding optics, has upped its first round financing to $8.2 million from $4.7 million after attracting the dollars of two Canadian venture-capital groups.
You’ll recall the first phase of this round when it was announced in October. Spain’s Iberdrola, the world’s largest renewable energy provider, and Nypro Inc., a leader in injection molding and contract manufacturing, were part of that announcement, along with venture-capital firm Turnstone Capital Management LLC. The addition of two Canadian VC groups is encouraging because, well, it’s nice to see Canadians investing in Canadians, but also because it increases the chance that Morgan Solar will remain based out of Canada. “The funds will finance activities through to the commercial release of Morgan Solar’s unique Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) solar panel — the Sun Simba HCPV,” the company said in a statement. “Early manufacturing for testing and certification has started at Morgan Solar’s facility in Toronto. Initial commercial deliveries are expected by the end of the year, with global sales, manufacturing, and delivery capabilities ramping up in 2011.”
Tom Rand at VCi Green Fund in Toronto led a Canadian investor consortium that contributed $2.3 million. It wasn’t a problem finding interest, he told me today. “I just reached into my network and within days it was filled up.” Another group took on $1.2 million, but the investors behind it were not disclosed. Rand said he visited a thousand or so booths at the Solar Power International show in Anaheim in October and found Morgan Solar to be the only company offering a non-commodity solar play. “It was the only one that had something significantly different,” he said. “Someone finally asked, why are we using lenses, which is a technology from the last century. We know how to guide light now, so let’s guide light.” Rand added that Morgan Solar has the potential to disrupt the industry on price. “The question is whether they can meet demand” if they can get to that magic price point.