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Leading Concentrated PV Company Greenvolts follows Amonix into Oblivion

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Greenvolts – CPV Company

While bankruptcies of leading crystalline silicon and thin film companies like Solyndra, Q-Cells has received a lot of attention, the shutdown of CPV companies have received less press. Like other solar technologies, Concentrated PV has been getting murdered by the relentless cost cuts being made by leading silicon PV solar technology. A few months ago Amonix which was a leading CPV company had shut down and now the death rattle has sounded for another promising aspirant Greenvolts which was backed by the ABB.

Greenvolts is laying off a majority of its staff as support from ABB has stopped. Note CPV technology unlike thin film and solar thermal technologies is complementary with silicon PV technology. In fact one of the leading solar companies Sunpower has integrated CPV into its roadmap to further enhance its most efficient solar panels. However pure CPV players who were focused on providing complete systems from modules to lens to systems are finding the going impossible in this cutthroat competitive environment and are shutting down.

Read About Sunpower Solar Panel Review.

CPV companies face the silicon panel heat

Crystalline Silicon PV Solar Technology is beating other rivals in the solar race hands down, with other technologies like thin film solar, solar thermal and concentrated PV facing survival questions. Tons of companies with their business models based on alternative solar technologies have already shut down with even the biggest thin film solar company First Solar, in severe problems. Already a number of leading solar thermal companies like Solar Millenium have gone out of business.

Now the concentrated PV solar technology companies are starting to feel the heat as well with one of the biggest companies Amonix closing down its factory and firing all its workers. Amonix was the leading designer and manufacturer of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) commercial solar power systems. Originally developed for space-based applications, Amonix III-V multijunction cells use three different photovoltaic materials in a single cell, they extract more energy from the range of wavelengths in sunlight. Under concentration, this can exceed 39% in volume production (over 41% in world-record demonstrations).


GreenVolts has laid off more than 60 of its 80-person staff after investor ABB withdrew its support of the firm.

GreenVolts, a a concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems vendor, talked a good game and raised sizable amounts of VC and strategic funding since its founding.

In spite of a $20 million funding round from ABB late last year, sources close to the firm have informed GTM that the company is closing its doors and letting most of its employees go as early as this Friday. Emails and calls to the CEO of the firm, several staff members, as well as the firm’s investors have not been returned.

The startup had signed a multi-megawatt power purchase agreement (PPA) with PG&E in 2008, one of the more sizable CPV projects at the time. But GreenVolts had some troubles and a bit of a boardroom shift: Founder Bob Cart was replaced as CEO by JDSU executive Dave Gudmundson. Gudmundson had no experience in the solar industry and brought several of his JDSU colleagues along with him. The new management had little solar or utility expertise. The same held true for the board of directors of the company.

Gudmundson took the firm quiet and the company reworked its product and its strategy. The product went through a major redesign because of issues with accuracy, tracking and scalability, according to our sources.

As far as we could tell, Gudmundson’s contribution was outlined in a press release calling the product “the industry’s first complete and fully integrated solar system, including modules, trackers, inverters, and energy management software.” Although not willing to go on record, a competitor in the tightly knit CPV space told GTM that this was hardly a CPV industry first and that most CPV vendors provide complete systems.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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