Infinia Raises $11.5M To Make New Solar-Power Generators, Entices Paul Allen Again

2/5/10Follow @xconomy

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at Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico, another is in Belen, NM. He wouldn’t say where all the others are. Rather than try to add new orders, Infinia has been concentrating on getting all its suppliers lined up, in places like Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Utah, and Illinois. It’s critical to ensure the quality of the product first, and worry about getting more orders later, he says. The initial batch of orders, it should also be noted, only “firm up,” Sitton says, after Infinia has delivered on its promises, in terms of what the product can actually do.

“Far more people want the product than we can satisfy at the moment,” Sitton says. “They are letting me know, energetically every day, that they want the product.”

Infinia itself only has 150 employees, and plans to remain small in the near future, with a team that focuses on design, marketing, and customer service, Sitton says. But once it enters mass production, and the suppliers are fully up and running, it expects them to employ “thousands” of people, many of whom have lost jobs during the contraction of the auto industry, Sitton says. Infinia hasn’t secured any incentives from local politicians who want to do something to create high-wage cleantech jobs, but the company may seek some help at a later time, Sitton says.

“We are a poster child,” for creating cleantech jobs, he says.

Of course, Infinia doesn’t have a monopoly on the idea of turning solar heat into electricity. One of its prime competitors has also made a significant stride since I wrote the original story on Infinia in August. Scottsdale, AZ-based Stirling Energy Systems (SES) joined a project to build a 1.5 megawatt demonstration project  for solar thermal energy in Maricopa County, AZ. Later this year, Infinia hopes to do more to publicize its pilot projects, Sitton says.

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  • Bob

    Infinia has more competition than just other Stirling solar companies like SES. It’s just as much a mystery how SES stays in business as it is how Infinia does when their main competition within the solar energy industry, First Solar Inc., produces photovoltaic electricity at a six times lower cost $1/watt instead of the $6/watt price previously advertised by Infinia. It’s also previously been reported that land requirements are lower for photovoltaic systems than Stirling systems.

    Something is not right and it would be helpful if the reporter, Luke Timmerman, would be a bit more aggressive in clarifying what seems like criminal deception on the part of Infinia.

  • http://yrihf.com Blue Swan

    I think that dispersed on-grid use of this technology is great. However, another use, is off-grid…the ability to build a brand new town out in nowheresville, and have generating capability.

    Coupled with hydrogen generation for storage and use in fuel cell cars (they could partner with Sun Catalytix) it could represent an entire re-vision of what “infrastructure” is.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ltimmerman/ Luke Timmerman

    Vinod Khosla just wrote in with the following comment. He participated in a $50 million round in February 2008, although he didn’t join the latest round.

    “I am not an investor. I wrote this off and am not active with the company,” Khosla says.

  • Clarifer

    Just so that everyone is clear Infinia already made a run at mass production and failed even to the point of constructing a $10million production line that failed as they ignored their production side and focused on the new design. Blue Swan is correct in his assessment and they did indeed use this production ruse to generate capital and no intention of ever making the engines in Kennewick. They have embodied Autoliv a world class Automotive Supplier in Utah.

  • David

    So why are there more rounds of funding if the project failed? What is the current cost per watt? I would love to buy a unit for cocreators.com once we are up and running.

  • ilker

    What is the current cost per watt? if i want to but a unit how much is it ?