US power optimiser supplier Ampt has raised US$25 million to ramp up its production, sales and product innovation, with its optimisers aimed at the commercial and utility-scale PV plant markets.
After securing a Series C funding round worth US$20 million and raising working capital worth US$5 million, the company said yesterday that it was seeking to “support continued growth”. Ampt’s module level power electronics range includes a string DC optimiser, which the company claims can lower PV plant costs.
In a statement given to PV Tech this morning, an Ampt spokeswoman said that as PV panel costs decline, reducing the cost of inverters and other electrical balance of systems (BoS) components is becoming more important, and claimed that adjusting PV power output at the module level could help address this.
“Globally, 60% of deployments are utility scale, which is the fastest-growing segment in solar,” the spokeswoman said.
“PV panels used to be bulk of the cost of PV systems, but now it’s less than 50% – and component costs, such as inverters, make up more of the expense. Ampt’s DC optimisers reduce inverter and electrical BoS costs by up to 50%, while distributing MPP tracking throughout the PV array to deliver more energy.”
An investment firm in Ampt’s home state of Colorado, Bohemian Investments, led the Series C round, while other investors included the family trust of Ampt founder Doug Schatz, who is already a strategic investor in his own company.
Ampt’s optimisers use two patented technologies, String Stretch and Ampt Mode. The company claims both can result in significant savings, for electrical BoS costs and PV inverter costs per watt respectively. Ampt has been looking to broaden its horizons already this year, sending a representative to the PV Expo show in Tokyo earlier this year, spying opportunities in the Japanese market, a belief that appeared to be backed up by the analysis of Cormac Gilligan at IHS, who called Japan a "huge opportunity" for power electronics firms.
In today’s statement the spokeswoman said that the latest funding round was the company’s largest to date and “will be used to drive our global expansion and allow us to continue to innovate – making technology that creates cost reductions for commercial and utility scale PV systems”.