Alta Devices Secures $72M for Next-Generation Solar

Alta Devices Inc., a solar startup that received early stage incubator funding from the US Department of Energy, announced it has raised $72 million in a current funding round.

Little is known about the company’s gallium arsenide-based technology, as they have been operating in stealth to date. The new funds are being used to continue moving toward commercialization, the company said in a release.

Participating investors include August Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Crosslink Capital,
DAG Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Presidio Ventures (a
Sumitomo Corporation company), Technology Partners, and Dow Chemical.
New investors are Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) on
behalf of certain of its clients, Good Energies, Energy Technology
Ventures (a joint venture involving GE, ConocoPhilips and NRG Energy),
and Constellation Energy.

“There are a number of advanced materials that could demonstrate higher solar conversion efficiency than silicon,” said Christopher Norris, Alta’s CEO. “To date, the challenge of these materials is that they have been expensive to produce and difficult to implement. Therefore, they are not currently an economic solution for addressing the world’s energy needs. We are working to solve this problem by leveraging new approaches in several disciplines.”

“We have a team of technologists working on issues ranging from efficient use of raw materials, better manufacturing processes, and new ways to optimize the conversion efficiency of these materials for energy applications,” he added.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers partner and Alta board member Bill Joy said: “One of the technologies on which Alta is seeing good results is a process called ‘epitaxial lift off’. This is a technique that will enable efficient use of very thin layers of gallium arsenide for solar PV applications.”

Alta Devices was founded in 2007 and is based in Santa Clara, CA.

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