Solar panel maker Solaria inked a loan for its new Fremont, CA-based tracking demonstration field and manufacturing facility on Earth Day with Rabobank, representing part of the $65 million in funding that Solaria has recently raised. Dan Shugar, CEO of Solaria Corp. also recognized the financial support of the California Public Utilities Commission, for the development of the Fremont facility.
The value of the Rabobank loan was not disclosed, but Marco Krapels, the bank’s executive vice president for Commercial Banking, in Roseville, CA, said, “This loan represents the beginning of a long relationship with Solaria.”
Shugar noted that its Series D financing round, announced in February, included Adams Street Partners, Cycad Group, and Western Technologies. The round was led by CMEA Capital and DBL Investors, following the May 2010 initial close, which included Sigma Partners, NGEN Partners, Mitsui Ventures and Savitr Capital. EDF Energies Nouvelles Company enXco also participated in the final close with a small investment.
The company expects to double its workforce at the plant from 100 now to 200 within a year, thanks in part to rising utility demand in California. “There is a reason we are here. Last week, the governor signed a law requiring 33 percent renewable resources for utilities. This is the epicenter of solar,” said Shugar. Solaria has mounted both a single-axis horizontal tracking system and an azimuth tracking system alongside its manufacturing plant. The company claims that its modules have the smallest carbon footprint of any silicon-based panel. The 110-kilowatt tracking display powers most of the company’s manufacturing requirements.
Among other dignitaries attending the Earth Day ribbon cutting for the tracking panel display were: California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom; Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest; Karen Douglas, California Energy Commissioner; Mike Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club; Gianluca Signorelli, vice president of Rabobank renewable energy finance; and Tristan Grimbert, president of EDF’s enXco unit.
Shugar noted that, “Solaria’s new manufacturing facility and solar array align well with this Administration’s focus on securing America’s energy independence while reducing harmful air emissions.” He added that, “The modules feature industry standard materials, and have been deployed and successfully financed in projects in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Solar has now emerged as both the environmentally and economically preferred method of generating peak power for customers – and many of the industry innovations are born here in California.”