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Solar concentrator firm Solaria lands $22 million

Start-up attracts investment from silicon panel manufacturer Q-Cells and optical-storage company Moser Baer.

Solar photovoltaic company Solaria said Tuesday it completed a second round of funding, collecting $22 million, and that it expects to bring solar concentrator products to market next year.

The round included investments from venture capital firms Sigma Partners and Ngen Partners, silicon solar panel manufacturer Q-Cells, and Moser Baer, a manufacturer of removable optical storage media.

Fremont, Calif.-based Solaria makes low-concentration solar cells from silicon. The idea behind solar concentrators is to amplify sunlight onto solar photovoltaic material to generate more electricity.

With the high price of silicon and high energy prices, a number of companies are investing in solar photovoltaic technologies.

Solaria said its manufacturing technology will produce cells that fit existing solar panels and enable production of two to three times the number of modules from silicon, compared with conventional methods.

The company is on target to start high-volume production in 2007. The capital will help the company ramp up its production of its operations, according to Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma.

"We evaluated many renewable energy investment opportunities and Solaria's approach really impressed us because it emphasizes reliability, manufacturability and compatibility," said Sigma Partners managing director Wade Woodson, in a statement.