Borrego Solar scores $14 million in funding

Is it just another deal, or is it a signal that green investors are running back to safer bets such as silicon for solar panels?

A 97.2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system Borrego Solar installed for a mixed live/work property in Richmond, Calif. Borrego Solar

Borrego Solar Systems, a manufacturer of a solar power systems that can connect to electrical grids, received $14 million in venture funding on Wednesday.

The money will go toward the company's expansion already under way to bring more solar installations to the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., according to the company. Borrego Solar recently opened offices in Boston.

The deal itself could be a sign that green capitalists are taking a more conservative approach to investment, not only in terms of business management but also in terms of the type of technology they're willing to take a risk on.

For one, Borrego Solar brought in $60 million in revenue in 2008 and scored over $90 million in contracts, according to company statistics. And in addition to last August's distribution deal for its residential solar panels with Wal-Mart's Sam's Club stores, the San Diego-based company has also scored some high-profile clients in California.

But perhaps of more interest to those watching the industry is the fact that Borrego Solar's solar panels are made of silicon semiconductors and not thin-film solar cells from CIGS, a combination of copper, indium, gallium, and selenide.

Silicon is a tried-and-true material in the solar industry. CIGS is a newer and, therefore, less proven solar technology material, even though many big names, such as IBM, are trying their hand at CIGS solar panels.

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