Morgan Solar secures $16.5 million funding; will open CPV manufacturing facility

The company says that the first funding round represents the bulk of its Series B efforts. Participants include existing investors Inversiones Financieras Perseo, of the Iberdrola Group, and Nypro Inc. New investor The Frost Group, LLC also contributed.

Morgan Solar’s communications manager told pv magazine that Dr. Frost of The Frost Group, is chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals, and CEO and chairman of OPKO. They added: "We’re aiming to attract another strategic investor, particularly someone with project finance and/or development capabilities, to close the remainder of the round."

Along with the funding, the company will make use of its USD$3.3 million loan from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to establish a new manufacturing facility in San Diego, California, and ramp up its existing manufacturing and R&D footprint in Ontario. It will also will complete a number of demonstration sites in Ontario and the U.S.

In terms of the test and demo sites, the communications manager explained that 330 kilowatts (kW) going up this year will be supported, in part, by a $2.3 million grant from the Canadian Government’s Sustainable Development Technology Fund. They added: "Another key grant that has supported our technology development and existing build up of manufacturing capabilities is the Ontario Government’s Innovation Demonstration Fund, which provided a $1.86 million forgivable loan early on."

Furthermore, the new manufacturing facility is located in Chula Vista, and will be ready by this summer. It will have a capacity of five megawatts (MW) by the end of the year, providing injection molded optics for approximately 400 kW of test and demo sites, as well as early commercial sites.

While the communications manager said this capacity is "fairly modest", by the end of 2012, the company intends to ramp up to 50 MW. They continued: "Morgan Solar’s pilot manufacturing facility is in Toronto, Ontario, is closely tied with our R&D efforts, and will be capable of producing six MW/ year by the end of 2011."

The Sun Simba, based on Morgan Solar’s patented Light-guide Solar Optic, is said to be an ultra-thin, lightweight module, which is "simple and inexpensive to manufacture".

Overall, the company has 17 patents pending, including a full patent covering the Light-guide Solar Optic and Sun Simba.