Petra Solar, a South Plainfield, N.J.-based developer of power electronics for solar energy systems, has raised $40 million in second-round funding. Craton Equity Partners and Espírito Santo Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Element Partners, Blue Run Ventures, OnPoint Technologies and Kuwait’s National Technology Enterprises Company.
Petra Solar, Inc., the pioneer and market leader in pole mounted smart grid and solar systems for utilities announced today that it has raised $40 million in funding for expansion. Two new investors, Craton Equity Partners and Espírito Santo Ventures, led the latest round with 100% participation from existing investors, Element Partners, Blue Run Ventures, OnPoint Technologies (U.S. Army’s Venture Fund) and Kuwait’s National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC).
“Petra Solar’s SunWaveTM solution is incredibly compelling because it does not require a large footprint in environmentally protected areas, thereby avoiding long transmission lines or costly permitting and siting procedures. SunWaveTM is a proven, cost effective and accelerated approach for utilities to address Renewable Portfolio Standards while simultaneously building smart-grid capabilities,” said Craton managing partner Bob MacDonald. “It’s an innovative technology and an elegant business model.”
“In our investments, we look for leading-edge technologies and business models with the ability to sustainably address a global business need, led by an outstanding team. Petra Solar, whose management team is among the best and most resourceful we have found, offers that and much more. In pioneering integrated pole-mounted solutions for electric utilities, Petra Solar leads the US market with a strong opportunity for international expansion,” said Joaquim Sérvulo Rodrigues, CEO of Espírito Santo Ventures.
“Prior to this round, Petra Solar developed a comprehensive utility-grade solution currently shipping to a leading US utility. It has assembled a world class management team and established successful manufacturing operations. This new round of financing will provide Petra Solar the resources to serve a growing number of utilities and municipalities engaged with the company,” said Sujit Banerjee of Element Partners and BRV.
“The Petra Solar management team is very pleased to have Craton Equity Partners and Espírito Santo Ventures as investors, especially given their experience in cleantech growth investing and their expertise in the regulated energy sector. We are also thankful for the continued support of our existing investors,” said Petra Solar CEO and President, Dr. Shihab Kuran. “Petra Solar has a proven model for green job creation including installation and manufacturing jobs that are local to system deployment. We are very gratified that our business interests line up directly with the public’s interest in producing reliable, clean energy and green jobs,” said Kuran.
Petra Solar will use the new round of financing to expand its customer base, with plans to hire another 30 executive and professional employees immediately. By the end of 2010, the company expects to employ 165 people, a ten-fold increase from its base of 15 last spring. Right now the company is actively recruiting throughout the United States to support growth including but not limited to project developers, regulatory experts, account managers, engineers and manufacturing staff. Petra Solar is shipping the SunWaveTM system in volume. Today these systems are generating clean energy, adding reliability to the distribution grid while simultaneously providing smart grid communications capabilities across PSE&G’s service territory in New Jersey. The Company will expand its product line to address new applications and market segments that leverage its Smart Energy ModuleTM platform, which integrates utility grade power management, smart grid communications and grid availability features into a single system. The Smart Energy ModuleTM commercializes Petra Solar’s technical achievements resulting from its leadership in the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems program, for which it received an Energy Innovator Award.
About Petra Solar:
Petra Solar, founded in 2006 by CEO and President Dr. Shihab Kuran, is the pioneer of SunWaveTM, grid tied, pole mounted, distributed solar generation systems. The SunWaveTM system combines solar energy with smart grid communications and electric grid enhancement functions to create a comprehensive utility grade solution for utilities. Petra Solar’s success is the culmination of more than 16 years of research and development. For more information about Petra Solar visit www.petrasolar.com.
About Craton Equity Partners
Craton Equity Partners is a nationally known, Los Angeles-based cleantech fund, focused on investing in new technologies that provide profitable solutions to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. Craton’s investments include green building products, earth heat exchange projects, smart grid technologies and next-generation biofuels. Craton is a leading advocate for sustainable investing, and using investment models to respond effectively to the urgent environmental challenges of our time. For more information on Craton Equity Partners visit www.cratonep.com.
About Espírito Santo Ventures
Espírito Santo Ventures is a venture capital firm of the Espírito Santo Group, focused on technology-based companies and innovative business projects with high-growth potential. Based in Lisbon, Portugal and with more than 200 million Euros in assets under management, Espírito Santo Ventures invested in nearly 30 companies that are developing worldwide leading products and services in the areas of Clean Tech, Health Care and Well-being and IT. The firm is currently raising a new venture capital fund (“Espírito Santo Ventures III”), aiming to reach 120 million Euros on the second closing date, by the end of June 2010, to expand its activity in those preferred areas of investment. For more information on Espírito Santo Ventures visit www.es-ventures.com.
About Element Partners
Element Partners is a leading growth equity firm exclusively dedicated to investments in the energy and clean technology markets. Element invests in established, high-growth companies with innovative solutions to global energy, resource and environmental problems. The firm strives to become a long-term partner with passionate business leaders who have built pioneering companies. Element has a long, successful history of providing its companies with the financial resources, industry contacts and strategic insights necessary to maximize growth and shareholder returns. For more information on Element Partners, visit www.elementpartners.com.
About Blue Run Ventures
Launched in 1998, BlueRun Ventures is a leading early stage venture capital fund with over $1 billion under management. Blue Run Ventures’ proven approach is to invest globally as a single fund in best-of-breed technologies and teams with the drive and ability to build leading global companies. BlueRun Ventures is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Helsinki, and Mumbai. For more information, visit www.brv.com.