Top Five VC-Backed Solar Companies

Solar market consolidation continued today with Silicon Valley-based CaliSolar agreeing to buy Ontario, Canada-based 6N Silicon. No financial terms were disclosed, but VC backers of both companies agreed to invest an additional $22.5 million.

This puts CaliSolar’s total VC funding at around $85 million, putting it in 18th place among all VC-backed solar companies. I figured it’s worth taking a quick look at the top five, since they are the most likely private acquirers going forward:


[slide title=”#1: Solyndra”]
Amount: $970 million

Founded: 2005

Location: Fremont, California

: Solar panels for commercial rooftops

: Argonaut Ventures, Madrone Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, Rockport Capital Partners, CMEA Capital, Redpoint Ventures and Virgin Green Fund.

Notes: Solyndra filed for a $300 million IPO last December, and has received more than $535 million in government loan guarantees.

[slide title=”#2: Nanosolar”]
Amount: $404 million

: 2002

: San Jose, California

: Photovoltaic cells and panels

: AES Corp., The Carlyle Group, EDS, Energy Capital Partners, Riverstone Holdings, EDF Renewables, Lone Pine Capital, the Skoll Foundation, Omidyar Network and return backers GLG Partners, Beck Energy, and Grazia Equity.

Notes: Last fall, the company rolled out what it said was the first solar electricity panel specifically designed and developed for utility-scale solar power system deployment.

[slide title=”#3 SolFocus”]
Amount: $176 million

: Mountain View, California
Founded: 2005

Business: Solar concentrator photovoltaic systems

: Demeter Partners, Advanced Equities, Apex Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, NGEN Partners and Yellowstone Ventures.

Notes: The company’s most recent client win was with a Portuguese utility.

[slide title=”#4: Konarka Technologies”]
Amount: $175 million

: 2001

: Lowell, Mass.

: Polymer-based photovoltaics

Investors: DFJ, 3i Group, Angeleno Group, Ardesta, Good Energies, Chevron Technology Ventures, Partech International, Vanguard Ventures, NGEN Partners, New Enterprise Associates.

Notes: Last fall, the company announced a curtain wall pilot project that will integrate Konarka Power Plastic into a wall structure at an Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. office in Florida.

[slide title=”#5: BrightSource Energy”]
Amount: $172 million

: 2006
Location: Oakland, California

Business: Utility-scale solar energy projects

:, BP Alternative Energy, StatoilHydro Venture, Black River, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Morgan Stanley, DBL Investors, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Chevron Technology Ventures.

Notes: The company is working on a proposal to build California’s first new solar thermal power plant in nearly two decades.