GreenVolts, which builds urban solar power plants, gets $10 million

More money pours into companies that can concentrate sunlight.

GreenVolts, which is commercializing technology from the national labs to better concentrate sunlight, has received $10 million in funding.

The company, based out of San Francisco, has a concentrating system for photovoltaic panels that effectively lets its put the power of 625 suns onto a solar panel. The high concentration levels thus allow it to shrink the real estate required for a single power plant. As a result, the power plants can be built closer to the consumers--i.e. people living in the city or suburbs--which in turn cuts down the cost of transmission lines.

Several other companies are working on concentrators for photovoltaic panels and some have received far more money. SolFocus , which can bring you the power of 500 suns, has raised $52 million. The GreenVolts concentrator is more efficient, the company claims, because it casts minimal shadows onto the solar panels, among other reasons. The concentrator also rotates with the sun. Greenvolts licenses its basic technology from the national labs.

The company has a contract to build a two megawatt facility in Tracy, California for Pacific Gas & Electric by the fourth quarter of next year.

GreenVolts? Series A round of funding was led by Greenlight Energy Resources and included Avista, a solar company.

GreenVolts CEO Bob Cart came up with the idea of going into the solar biz after sailing around the South Pacific. There, he helped locals fix solar panels discarded by sailors who had passed through earlier. Distributed power sort of struck him as an interesting opportunity.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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