The microinverter business is heating up. Installers and consumers alike are finding out that microinverter technology provides better return on investment than a string inverter. Using a conventional solar installation, any drop in a module’s performance will reduce the output of every other module in the string. With a microinverter system, the maximum amount of energy is extracted from each and every panel, thus isolating performance issues of any single module. The investment community has now joined the party and the microinverter business is poised to heat up.
This week, Austin based SolarBridge Technologies closed a $42 million round of funding led by Constellation Technology Ventures, part of Exelon Corp. The funding, according to the company, will be used to expand sales and marketing and focus on research and development as the company scales its customer base across North America and Australia.
In addition to Constellation Technology Ventures, previous investors Shea Ventures, Rho Ventures and Prelude Ventures participated in the financing. Michael Smith, Constellation vice president and head of Constellation Technology Ventures, will join the SolarBridge Board of Directors.
Regarding the company’s AC Module technology, CEO Bill Mulligan noted that “AC modules are changing the way distributed PV is sold, designed and installed. Quality and reliability are critical differentiators in the microinverter segment, and our performance has established SolarBridge as best-in-class technology for executing a TrueAC module.”
The funding provides SolarBridge with a war chest to scale up and eventually compete with market leader Enphase, whose 2013 shipments of microinverters far outpaced SolarBridge.
Walter Wang is an energy tax policy expert and managing editor of CleanTechies. A list of his publications can be found here. Follow Walter on Twitter: @energytaxprof