In a highly competitive residential solar market, Route 66 Ventures has committed $130 million to Sunlight Financial, a provider of loans for residential solar systems. Route 66 Ventures makes credit and equity investments in the financial services sector. Solar installers and sales firms access Sunlight through an online platform, through which homeowners can apply for credit and sign loan documents.
Mitsubishi’s American power subsidiary, Diamond Generating (historically focused on gas and traditional power plants) has acquired a near-majority interest in Boston's Nexamp, a solar and renewable project developer, according to Boston Business Journal. The deal will allow Nexamp to bring its commercial-scale energy project development and community solar to Maryland, Georgia and New Jersey.
View, the Milpitas, Calif.-based tintable-window startup, raised $100 million in VC funding led by TIAA Investments, an affiliate of $882 billion Nuveen. View holds a valuation of $1.1 billion, according to PitchBook.
View has raised more than $600 million since its inception as Soladigm seven years ago from investors including Corning, Madrone Capital Partners, Khosla Ventures, GE, Reinet Investments, NanoDimension, DBL Investors, Navitas Capital, Sigma Partners and The Westly Group. View claims over 300 installations in North America, with another 150 in progress. View’s main competitor, SageGlass, is owned by Saint-Gobain. Kinestral Technologies also recently raised $65 million in a round C funding for its tintable glass.
Enbala raised at least $12 million in Series B financing led by ABB Technology Ventures, the Swiss grid giant's venture arm. ABB just picked Enbala’s technology to build out its distributed energy resource management system, that's DERMS — a hot commodity among forward-looking utilities, particularly those in regions with lots of customer-sited rooftop PV. Enbala has raised about $42 million from investors including GE Ventures, Chrysalix and Obvious Ventures. Enbala's competition on the DERMS front includes grid giants developing their own platforms, and startups like Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Blue Pillar, AutoGrid, Opus One, Power Analytics, Spirae, Smarter Grid Solutions, and the recently acquired Viridity Energy.
Fresh from the GTM Research analyst dungeon:
- Did Enbala actually raise $16 million?
- GTM's smart grids analyst find it noteworthy to see ABB back in the grid edge venture world after a more-than-five year absence. ABB's other griddy investments include Power Assure in Q3 2011, Ecotality in Q1 2011, and Trilliant in Q3 2010.
GreenSync raised $11.5 million in a Series B round led by Australian government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Southern Cross Venture Partners. The firm has shifted from peak demand management services to a software platform that controls and optimizes energy resources and battery storage. Greensync appears to be a direct competitor to Enbala, AutoGrid, etc. The firm is taking part in a T&D deferral trial project and a “project in Australia that looks a lot like a REV demo.”
NRStor, a Toronto-based energy storage project developer, won an $11 million equity financing commitment from the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada (LiUNA). NRStor has won contracts with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator for utility-scale energy storage projects and is working with Hydrostor and Temporal Power. NRStor built Canada’s first commercial grid-connected flywheel facility, and is developing Canada’s first commercial compressed air energy storage facility. Its majority investor is Lake Bridge Capital.
MineSense, a provider of data analytics for the mining industry, closed a $14.5 million round led by Aurus Ventures along with Caterpillar's VC-investment arm, Chrysalix, Cycle Capital Management, Prelude Ventures and Export Development Canada. MineSense's sensors and data analytics software can impact “both the mines' productivity and environmental footprint,” said Victor Aguilera of Aurus Ventures.
SparkFund, a Washington D.C.-based financial technology startup, closed a $7 million Series B led by Energy Impact Partners along with existing investor Vision Ridge Partners and others. SparkFund looks to offer an “efficiency-as-a-service” subscription model to provide businesses with efficiency measures for a single monthly payment and no upfront cost.
Why is long-in-the-tooth grid startup Tendril raising another $5 million in venture funding?
QD Solar, a Toronto solar startup, won $2.5 million in a Series A financing led by Dutch VC firm DSM Venturing along with MaRS Innovation and Saudi Arabia’s KAUST Innovation Fund. QD Solar’s quantum dot-based solar cells use “nano-engineered, low-cost materials that can absorb the otherwise wasted infrared light” with the potential to boost overall power generation by 20 per cent, according to the firm.
ConnectDER, an early-stage firm developing a meter collar that lets residential solar connect to the grid cheaply and rapidly, has closed a $1.1 million Series A round through a collaboration between Investors’ Circle and PRIME Coalition. PRIME Coalition is a 501(c)(3) public charity that allows philanthropists to place charitable capital into market-based solutions to climate change.
WattGlass, an Arkansas-based startup, won Series A funding from DSM Venturing for its anti-reflective and anti-soiling coating with applications in solar and other markets. First Solar acquired Enki Technology for its anti-reflection coatings late last year after receiving funding from Applied Materials, RockPort and the DOE's SunShot program.
Public solar companies raising money
Enphase has “refinanced and extended its term loan facility with certain funds managed by Tennenbaum Capital Partners (TCP) from $25 million to $50 million. In connection with the TCP refinancing, Enphase says it will consolidate its lender relationships by repaying amounts currently drawn under its existing line of credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance and close that facility.
Ascent Solar has shipped limited volumes of its portable CIGS thin-film solae charging devices, but Hong Kong Boone Group Limited still invested $20 million in its purchase of Ascent's newly designated Series K Convertible Preferred Stock.
GTM Research analysts Andrew Mulherkar, Paulina Tarrant, Elta Kolo and Brett Simon contributed to this article.
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