SAN DIEGO & MONROVIA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is giving a jolt to solar power pioneer Soliant Energy by joining a group providing the company with nearly $21 million in venture capital.
GE Energy Financial Services announced today at Solar Power International '08 in San Diego that it is investing $2.5 million and providing the power of GE's ecomagination program to Soliant. The Monrovia, CA-based company -- founded by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers -- is developing what it intends to be the most efficient and lowest cost technology to generate electricity from the sunlight that shines on commercial rooftops, a market it estimates will reach $13.2 billion by 2010. GE estimates that commercial and industrial buildings comprise 60 percent of the total roof area in the United States.
Soliant's goal is to deliver commercial building owners the highest return on their solar investment. The company's rooftop concentration modules aim to be the market's most efficient, and will deliver the highest total energy yield when integrated into complete rooftop systems. Compatible with conventional racks and inverters, its modules leverage high efficiency solar cells and integrated two-axis tracking to maximize the total energy harvest. This increased performance results in lower system costs, high energy density and corresponding high return on investment. Soliant plans to open a 40-megawatt production plant late next year.
GE's vote of confidence in Soliant's technology adds to Soliant's development efforts, supported by the US Department of Energy, which is providing the company with $4 million as part of the government's "Solar America" initiative designed to spur innovation in solar power.
Art Buckland, Soliant's CEO, said, "GE's strategic investment is validation that our approach provides commercial customers with the lowest-cost solar electricity at the plug."
GE is focusing on solar power as part of ecomagination, the company's program to help its customers meet their environmental challenges while expanding its own portfolio of cleaner energy products.
"Concentrating photovoltaic solar power is especially viable for space-constrained applications such as commercial rooftops, and Soliant is well positioned with its elegant design, market-leading efficiency and potential for low installed cost per kilowatt hour of energy produced," said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director and leader of renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services.
Taking advantage of GE's wide-ranging capabilities, GE Energy Financial Services made its investment decision with the benefit of technical input from the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York, which evaluated Soliant's technology.
GE Energy Financial Services' seven-member venture capital group led this investment. With offices in Boston, Stamford, CT, San Francisco, and Munich, Germany, the group has invested more than $150 million in the last two years in early- and growth-stage energy- and water-related technology companies.
GE joins Soliant's other investors in its latest funding round, led by Convexa Capital. Earlier investors include RockPort Capital Partners, Nth Power, Trinity Ventures and Rincon Venture Partners.
About Soliant Energy
Soliant Energy is an award-winning solar module manufacturer whose mission is to deliver commercial customers the highest solar return on investment and the cheapest solar electricity at the plug. Soliant Energy is funded by leading energy and renewable technology investors, including GE Energy Financial Services, Convexa Capital, Rockport Capital Partners, Nth Power, Trinity Ventures and Rincon Venture Partners. Soliant is also supported by the US Department of Energy, and technology partners such as Boeing Spectrolab, Emcore, 3M, MIT, Sandia National Labs and SunEdison. Founded in 2005 by a core team of experienced NASA JPL engineers, Soliant will ship its first products for commercial rooftop applications in late 2009. Soliant Energy is located in Monrovia, CA and on the web at http://www.soliant-energy.com/
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services' 400 experts invest globally with a long-term view, backed by the best of GE's technical know-how and financial strength, across the capital spectrum and the energy and water industries, to help their customers and GE grow. With $19 billion in assets, GE Energy Financial Services, based in Stamford, Connecticut, invests more than $5 billion annually in two of the world's most capital-intensive industries, energy and water. In renewable energy, GE Energy Financial Services is growing its portfolio of more than $4 billion in assets in wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power. For more information, visit http://www.geenergyfinancialservices.com
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water, transportation and health to access to money and information, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide. GE is Imagination at Work. For more information, visit the company's Web site at http://www.ge.com.
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