GreenRay Sees Green in $2M A Round

7/15/09

Westford, MA-based startup GreenRay has raised $2 million in a Series A round of venture capital to advance its plans to commercialize its plug-and-play solar panels, according to an announcement this morning.

Venture firm Quercus Trust, of Newport Beach, CA, led the first-round financing, which included co-investor 21Ventures, based in New York. GreenRay, which has remained quiet about its technology since forming in 2006, has been operating with a $500,000 loan awarded by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust in 2008 and a three-year, $3.5 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy won two years ago, according to GreenRay CEO and co-founder Miles Russell.

The startup has developed electronics and hardware that enable homeowners to capture the benefits of solar power without some of the expenses of engineering and installing solar electricity systems. The firm soon plans to test prototypes of its solar panels on the roof of an office building in Northborough, MA, in concert with the utility company National Grid, Russell said in an interview this morning. Japan-based electronics maker Sanyo Electric provides GreenRay with photovoltaic modules that the startup uses to build its solar panels.

“I expect there will be future rounds [of financing],” Russell said. “We still need to prove our technology and this [round] will allow us to do that.”

GreenRay’s solar panels are integrated with the firm’s proprietary electronics to generate AC power. Traditional photovoltaic modules, on the other hand, generate DC power and require additional electrical components to convert that power into AC power that can be used in the home and pushed into the electric grid, according to GreenRay. The company has also engineered its solar panels to connect together easily, enabling quick installation. Its technology can reduce the labor costs related to engineering, installing, and maintaining home solar electricity systems by up to 50 percent over the life of the system, Russell said.

The company, which now employs five people, plans to distribute its products through existing solar electricity system integrators, Russell said. He expects to launch the firm’s products in fourth quarter of 2009.

Russell and other co-founders of GreenRay were previously employees at Schott Solar, a manufacturer of PV systems that has operations in Massachusetts.

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