Today’s Deal Radar brings cleantech and solar energy back into the limelight with Infinia. The Kennewick, Washington-based company is an energy technology company whose Stirling Solar products convert solar energy into electricity. As a company, Infinia has been around since 1985 and has successfully commercialized the Stirling engine for a number of applications, including combined heat and power and as a heart pump.
In 2005, Infinia realized the potential of the Stirling engine as a solar application. The company saw that a properly designed and packaged solar power generation appliance using its proprietary free-piston Stirling engine to convert solar thermal energy into electricity could be made by Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive parts suppliers and manufactured inexpensively using existing manufacturing capacity worldwide. They believe that such an appliance could “dramatically” expand the number of sites that could be used to harvest sunlight and could provide a much lower cost solution in many situations.
Infinia believes that its ISS3000 offers industry-leading performance, highly scalable production, dramatic siting and project advantages (it does not consume water, does not need flat ground, can fit within existing transmission and distribution system capacities, and has short order-to-delivery lead-times) and low-cost solar power. Since the company’s approach to product design and development takes advantage of common materials and existing manufacturing processes to deliver product more quickly, it is more cost effective. Infinia plans to start producing its Infinia Solar System in the second quarter of 2009.
With its ISS3000, Infinia is addressing a market that is projected to be the largest and fastest-growing segment of the solar power market and is expected to total more than $110 billion by 2015. The company is currently serving quick-moving solar asset developers who are looking to build modest to large-sized utility-scale, solar-based power plants in Spain and the United States. Power from these assets will be sold under feed-in tariffs and power purchase agreements.
The company uses a primarily outsourced manufacturing/direct sales/product sales business with significant pricing flexibility. For prospective deployments in the 20 MW and less range, they intend to price against PV panels and systems. For prospective deployments above 20 MW, they intend to price against troughs and towers. The company has finalized sales agreements representing demand for more than two years of planned production, and they expect initial installations to be on line in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The company has raised $70 million so far: a $3.5 million in angel financing from Power Play Energy in early 2005; a $9.5 million Series A from Khosla Ventures, Idealab, EQUUS, Vulcan Capital and Power Play Energy in June 2007; and a $57 million Series B from GLG, Wexford, Foxconn, Khosla Ventures, Idealab, EQUUS, Vulcan Capital and Power Play Energy in April 2008. Though the company is not profitable yet, it believes that its low-capex production model will allow the business to become profitable quickly and will produce strong positive cash flows.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009