Solyndra Targets $175m Private Placement

Solyndra targets $175m private placement to fund Fab 2 as it withdraws from IPO

Solyndra Inc of Fremont, CA, USA, which manufactures copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) systems consisting of panels and mounting hardware for commercial rooftops, has submitted a request with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to withdraw its Registration Statement on Form S-1 (filed on 18 December) for an initial public offering of shares of its common stock, which had aimed to raise up to $300m. No shares of Solyndra’s common stock had been sold pursuant to the registration statement. The firm says that it has elected not to proceed at this time due to adverse market conditions and the availability of alternative funding from existing investors.

Instead, Solyndra has agreed to sell secured convertible promissory notes worth $175m to certain existing investors in a private placement.

Proceeds will be used to fund existing operations and to support growth plans. “Given the ongoing uncertainties in the public capital markets, we elected to pursue alternative funding from our existing investor base,” says CEO Dr Chris Gronet. “This funding allows us to address strong customer demand by maintaining our aggressive growth plans,” he adds.

Solyndra expects first production from its Fab 2 manufacturing complex in fourth-quarter 2010, about two months ahead of schedule. “We’ve now sold over 300,000 panels for deployment on commercial rooftop sites in a dozen countries,” says Gronet. The firm expects annualized production to exceed 300MW by fourth-quarter 2011, enabling economies of scale that will reduce manufacturing costs substantially.

Solyndra’s proprietary cylindrical thin-film solar panels are built from tubes. This ‘self-tracking’ design — with a 360º photovoltaic surface capable of absorbing direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight (from below) — allows the capture of more sunlight from low-slope commercial rooftops than conventional flat-surfaced solar panels, which need costly tilted mounting devices to improve the capture of direct light from the sun, offer poor collection of diffuse light, and fail to collect reflected light. Also, gaps between the tubes and their frame let wind pass through, reducing the need for heavy, roof-penetrating fastenings or anchoring; their lighter weight also allows installation on scantier roofs. Simple horizontal mounting hardware also allows fast and economical installation, claims the firm.

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