July 27, 2009

Solar Tech Firm Suniva Raises $75 Million For Expansion

Solar cell manufacturing firm, Suniva Inc, on Monday announced that it has raised $75 million in investments led by global private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

The investments will allow Suniva to grow its manufacturing capacity by 64 megawatts to 100 MW per year at its plant in Norcross, Georgia.
"Most solar is undifferentiated," said Chansoo Joung, a managing director at Warburg Pincus. "That's not the case with Suniva.  Their cell design and roadmap for commercialization is extremely compelling and represents a unique value proposition for customers." 

 "Warburg Pincus seeks out businesses that have an important role to play both in the near and long term. As the solar industry grows, Suniva is well positioned, delivering the leading combination of high efficiency and low-cost manufacturing," he added.

Suniva raised $50 million in investments from New Enterprise Associates and Advanced Equities in February 2008, both of which also added to the third round of funding, the company said in a statement.

"I wish I could say that it was an easy process, but money has been tight in this market and I think venture firms and private equity firms are extremely careful," said Suniva Chief Executive John Baumstark.

Baumstark also told Reuters that the Norcross-based company intends to expand its dealings in Asia and Europe in order to be closer to its clientele. The firm also sees the US as a growing market due to the increased funding provided by the federal economic stimulus package.
"There is tremendous opportunity here, and probably 2010 will be a very big year in the US," said Baumstark.

"From the front lines I can attest that there are a great deal of cleantech and solar investment opportunities. We looked at quite a bit of solar and learned quickly that the majority of the industry is commodity," Joung told Reutgers.


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