Al Gore invests $10m. in Israeli solar energy projects

Gore's cleantech fund to finance Tigo Energy Inc., which develops solutions to maximize output by photovoltaic installations.

April 13, 2011 20:19
2 minute read.
Photovoltaic panels installed in Gush Etzion

311_solar panels. (photo credit: Courtesy of Friendly Energy)


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Tigo Energy Inc. has raised $10 million in its third financing round plus a $10 million credit line from Climate Solutions Fund LP, managed Generation Investment Management LLP, whose chairman is former US Vice President Al Gore. Tigo develops solutions to maximize output by photovoltaic installations.

Tigo CEO Sam Arditi and president and COO Ran Hadar founded the company in 2007. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley and has a development center in Kfar Saba with 30 employees.

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Hadar told "Globes" today that demand is rising for its products, and that proceeds from the financing round would be used to increase production capacity and the company's global sales and marketing network.

The investment from Climate Solutions Fund brings the amount of capital raised by Tigo to $40 million. The company's previous investors are Israel's Clal Energy Ltd. and Israel Cleantech Ventures Funds), Matrix Partners and OVP Venture Partners of the US, and Taiwan's Inventec Appliances Corporation.

Hadar said, "Generation Investment is one of the world's largest cleantech funds, and it recognizes the importance of the electronics of solar energy systems and the growth potential of the sector. The fresh capital will enable us to pick up the pace of our business and greatly expand our product development and production in order to expand our marketing. The investment also demonstrates the recognition of our technology and vision to be at the industry's forefront."

Tigo's product, the Maximizer boosts power output of photovoltaic systems of any size from residential to utility scale by up to 20% by reducing the effects of shade, dust, clouds and uneven temperature on system performance. Israeli engineers developed the technology.

Hadar added, "Israel has 2,000 hours of sunlight a year. Our component turns PV panels into smart panels that add 400 hours of sunlight. This is real news for the industry and it charmed the people at Generation Investment, which decided that it was worthwhile to invest in us."

Tigo has installed several Maximizer at PV systems worldwide, including at a 600-kilowatt facility in California and at a 500-kilowatt facility at Moshav Tagor in Israel. "We're getting good feedback from the people at Tagor, who say that energy exploitation rose 15%. We have a work plan for the period ahead, which includes installing our product extensively in Israel and other countries," said Hadar.

Hadar said that PV installations were being built at a rate of 10 megawatts a month, including in Europe and Asia, which boost Tigo's growth rate multifold. "Our sales grow 400% per quarter. In addition to the latest investment, we have a solid foundation for further development activity. By the end of the coming year, we'll market solar panels embedded with the Maximizer," said Hadar.

Tigo expects $30 million in sales in 2011.

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