SolarBridge Gets $25 Million in Funding, Plans Europe Expansion

SolarBridge Technologies Inc., a closely held supplier of electronics for solar panels, received $25 million in venture capital and will use the funding to expand to Europe this year.

The Series D financing was led by new investor Shea Ventures LLC and included existing backers Battery Ventures, Rho Ventures LLC and Osage University Partners, SolarBridge said today in a statement.

The company, based in Austin, Texas, makes microinverters that convert direct-current electricity into alternating current, eliminating the need for bigger inverters and lowering installation costs, Chief Executive Officer Ron Van Dell said.

“There’s a general shift under way to go from the DC-based systems to AC-based systems because you get some energy harvest advantage in doing that,” Van Dell said in a phone interview yesterday.

The company’s microinverters are packaged with solar panels made by SunPower Corp. and Taiwanese manufacturer AU Optronics Corp. in the North American market, and it’s developing products for the European grid, Van Dell said. Sales in Europe will begin during the second half of this year, though revenue “won’t become material until 2013,” he said.

SolarBridge also will use the funding to improve its Web-based software, which enables homeowners to monitor the performance of systems remotely, Van Dell said. The company employs 80 people and hiring will increase “modestly” during the next 18 months, he said.

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