SolarBridge, Lighting Science Raise Rounds for Microinverters, LEDs

SolarBridge Technologies, which makes microinverters for solar panels, has raised another $25 million in Series D funding, bringing its total to $71 million.

It raised a C round last year for $19 million. Based in Austin, Texas, SolarBridge is manufacturing in China with partner Celestica (NYSE: CLS). SolarBridge is on a list of 200 private companies that are "pushing the greentech community forward into tomorrow’s clean world."

The microinverters are used in residential and light commercial applications.  The SolarBridge Pantheon microinverter, Power Manager and Power Portal dramatically increases the efficiency and reliability of PV systems, while reducing the levelized cost of energy. It matches the lifetime of solar modules, enabling module manufacturers to provide a 25-year warranty on AC modules, says the company.

"The SolarBridge AC Module System is a highly bankable solution because it enables an integrated 25-year warranty on the module and dramatically reduces the cost of solar energy through unmatched reliability, better energy harvest and simpler installation," explains Ron Van Dell, president and CEO.

The funding will support the launch of new products, increase sales and marketing efforts and expand the company’s operations globally.   

New investor, Shea Ventures, the investment arm of Shea Homes, the nation’s largest private homebuilder, led the round. Previous investors Battery Ventures, Rho Ventures and Osage University Partners, also participated.

Shea’s other cleantech investments are in SolarCity and Cool Planet Energy Systems.

Enphase, which went public in March, had had the microinverter niche to itself since its founding in 2006. SolarBridge, Azuray and SolarEdge have recently joined the market. 

Lighting Science Group Raises $88 Million

LED manufacturer Lighting Science Group (OTCBB: LSCG) raised another $88 million in a private placement, bringing its total to $140 million.

The company says it’s the largest manufacturer of LEDs in North America, making 4.5 million light bulbs in 2011. Based in Satellite Beach, Florida, it has a European base in Goes, The Netherlands, and a sales office in Sydney, Australia, employing about 1000 people.

"We are looking ahead to our anticipated opening of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in India, our plans to penetrate both the subcontinent’s and Asian markets, and to increased consumer and business adoption of LED solutions overall. We believe that by this time next year, the 4.5 million milestone will be replaced by an exponential growth trajectory, since in January alone we will make at least 500,000 bulbs," says Jim Haworth, CEO.

Riverwood Capital, a globally-focused private equity firm, led the round, and Pegasus Capital Advisors, Lighting Science Group’s majority owner, also participated.

Last year, the Lighting Science Group filed for a $150 million IPO on Nasdaq, but it’s not clear where that stands.

Home Depot’s been able to sell residential LEDs at low prices because of partnerships with LED makers like Lighting Science. And its LEDs are in the US Navy’s largest lighting retrofit at a base in California. 

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