Solar company Suniva gets 50 million in funding

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - U.S. solar cell maker Suniva said it received $50 million in funding from venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and others.

The funds will be used for a manufacturing facility that will open in the second half of this year, Chief Executive John Baumstark said in an interview.

The company, which is based in Atlanta, expects to begin shipping cells in the fourth quarter, Baumstark added. The new facility will be located in the Atlanta area.

Suniva's second round of funding was co-led by NEA and Advanced Equities Inc, a venture capital investment bank. Goldman Sachs unit Cogentrix Energy Inc, a power producer, also participated in the funding, as did HIG Ventures and Quercus Investments.

Suniva licenses solar cell technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology's University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics. The company's aim is to reduce cell manufacturing costs to help bring the price of solar power closer to that of electricity from the grid.

For the time being, the company is only focused on making solar cells, Baumstark said. Cells are put together to make modules, which then make up solar panels.

"At some point we may expand beyond that, but starting out we felt like it makes sense to produce the best cells out there at the best price," Baumstark said.



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