Blackstone enters the electric bus and van race, plus the return of seed-stage solar investing


European counterpart to Tesla solar roofs

SunRoof, a Swedish-Polish startup developing solar roofs and facades, raised $2.3 million in a seed round led by SMOK Ventures that included investors LT Capital, EIT InnoEnergy, FD Growth Capital and KnowledgeHub. The company’s ambition “is to become a European counterpart of Tesla,” according to SunRoof CEO Lech Kaniuk. If the CEO is speaking of Tesla’s solar roof, that would mean a reluctant rollout of an expensive beta product. SunRoof claims to have built more than 100 roofs in Sweden, Norway, and Poland.

Solar coating

SunDensity landed $2.5 million in early-stage funding for a coating technology it claims will boost solar panel power output by 20%. SunDensity’s coating converts blue light that can’t be used by solar cells into red light that can be more readily converted into electricity. The firm’s first focus will be on the utility-scale new panel market. The startup claims to have signed wholesale distribution agreements with eight glass manufacturers. Clean Energy Ventures led the startup’s financing along with Luminate, the Rochester Angel Network and LaunchNY.

Blackstone enters the EV fray

Arrival, a UK-based startup that builds electric buses and vans, landed $118 million from investment behemoth BlackRock. The transaction values the company at about $3.5 billion, according to the The Wall Street Journal. The startup is backed by Hyundai and Kia and is getting ready to build electric delivery vans for UPS, also an investor, in small-scale factories in the U.S. and the UK. According to Forbes, BlackRock’s backing brings total funding for Arrival to more than $230 million. The company claims “it can sell electric transit buses at much lower prices than those of industry heavyweights,” such as BYD and Proterra.

Proterra raises $200 million

Proterra, an electric bus startup that also makes batteries and power systems for heavy vehicles, raised $200 million led by Cowen Sustainable Investment along with Soros Fund Management, Generation Investment Management and the Broadscale Group. Proterra’s transit buses have provided over 14 million miles of service to more than 120 transit customers, according to the company, which claims to have sold and delivered more battery-electric transit buses in North America than any other manufacturer. Proterra has raised more than $700 million from investors including G2VP, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Constellation Ventures, Mitsui & Co.,BMW i Ventures, Edison Energy, the Federal Transportation Administration, General Motors’s venture arm and Tao Capital Partners.

Energy-efficient motors and switches

Linear Labs, maker of an efficient electric motor, raised $6 million in funding for industrial, appliance and mobility applications.  Investors included Champion Hill, Chris and Crystal Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital, Kindred Ventures, Gen Fukunaga, Duke Angel Network, Spike Ventures, and Moving Capital.

Menlo Microsystems, a developer of energy-saving micro-mechanical switches and relays, won $44 million in a Series B funding round led by 40 North Ventures. Other investors in the company include Corning and Paladin.

Floating solar raises $10.6 million

Norwegian floating PV specialist Ocean Sun successfully listed on the Merkur Market, a multilateral trading facility which has offered small and medium-sized companies access to the Oslo Stock Exchange, and raised $10.9 million.

Ocean Sun’s design for floating PV projects at near-shore locations and in semi-sheltered waters consists of a floating buoyancy ring anchored to the seabed with four mooring points and twelve lines. In mid-July, the company signed a deal to develop pilot projects at the 2.1 GW floating solar site planned near the Saemangeum tidal flat, on the coast of the Yellow Sea.“We will normally take a small license fee per watt installed in each project,” said the CEO.  As per reporting in pv magazine.

Norwegian floating PV specialist Ocean Sun plans IPO

Array Technologies’ hot IPO

In a bullish IPO landscape, shares of No. 2 global solar tracker maker Array Technologies jumped by more than 65% on its expanded public offering in its first day of trading. The IPO valued the solar firm at about $2.8 billion. Jeff Krantz, CCO at the firm, just told pv magazine that the IPO provides a new source of capital for scaling the company in the utility solar world and provided the opportunity to acquire other companies if there was a strategic fit. Oaktree Capital, an investor, will hold numerous seats on the public company’s board.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: