Southwest Windpower Inc., a Flagstaff, Ariz.-based maker of residential-scale wind generators, has raised $10 million in Series C funding. General Electric was joined by return backers NGP Energy Technology Partners, Altira, CTTV Investments and Rockport Capital Partners.
month after the adoption of federal tax credits to propel small wind energy growth in the United States, GE (NYSE: GE) is joining current investors to provide $10 million to the world’s largest manufacturer of small wind turbines, Southwest Windpower. Southwest Windpower—designer and producer of small wind turbines up to 3 kW—will use this new funding to accelerate its growth in new markets and products. Other current investors that participated are Altira; Rockport Capital Partners; NGP Energy Technology Partners; and CTTV Investments LLC, the venture capital arm of Chevron Technology Ventures.
“Renewable energy is a critical component of the world’s energy mix, and small, more affordable wind energy will be a key new energy alternative,” said Frank Greco, CEO of Southwest Windpower, based in Flagstaff. “This new capital funding will allow us to expand our markets, helping to bring cost-effective small wind energy to new residential, commercial, and off-grid customers.”
The company did not publicly break down the investment amount for each firm participating in the funding round, the capital for which will help Southwest Windpower develop new markets, grow its sales offices in Europe, and expand in Asia. The funds also will help expand the company’s product line to develop even more efficient wind systems. Southwest Windpower has grown 3.5 times in annual sales volume over the last 4-year period at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of nearly 37%.
Much of the growth will center on the market expansion and continued enhancement of Skystream, a residential-scale wind generator that produces electricity up to 60 percent cheaper than retail electricity, bringing renewable energy options to residential consumers and commercial outlets. Skystream’s unique plug-and-play design allows the user to connect directly to the electric grid. For a residential home, Skystream can provide anywhere from 40 – 90% of the home’s electricity, depending on their consumption and wind resource. Southwest Windpower is developing new applications for the Skystream system, including commercial uses such as powering light poles for parking lots or municipalities and multiple unit installations for remote electrification.
“The new federal stimulus incentives and the company’s product performance improvements enable Southwest Windpower to offer renewable electricity at attractive rates in different regions of the country,” said Kevin Skillern, managing director and leader of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services. “In many applications, Southwest Windpower offers the most economic distributed renewable generation technology, and GE is helping the company accelerate adoption of that technology.”
The US economic stabilization and fiscal stimulus laws enacted in late 2008 and early 2009, which allow consumers and small businesses to take a 30% tax credit off the installed cost of a wind turbine, are expected to fuel Southwest Windpower’s continued growth. The American Wind Energy Association predicts the federal incentives, on top of a growing number of state incentives, could help the small-turbine market grow 30-fold in as few as five years.
About Southwest Windpower
Flagstaff Arizona-based Southwest Windpower is the world’s largest producer of small wind generators (400-3000 watts). The 22-year old company has been a pioneer in the development of wind technology and has produced over 130,000 generators that provide power to residential homes, remote cabins, telecom transmitters, offshore platforms, water pumping and sailboats. Southwest Windpower distributes in more than 88 countries.
On the Web: www.windenergy.com
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services’ experts invest globally with a long-term view, backed by the best of GE’s technical know-how, financial strength and rigorous risk management, across the capital spectrum, in one of the world’s most capital-intensive industries, energy. GE Energy Financial Services helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships and optimization of its more than $22 billion in assets. In renewable energy, GE Energy Financial Services is growing its portfolio of more than $4 billion in assets in wind, solar, biomass, hydro and geothermal power. GE Energy Financial Services is based in Stamford, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.geenergyfinancialservices.com.
About Rockport Capital Partners
RockPort Capital Partners is a venture capital firm based in Boston that invests energy and power technologies, advanced materials and process and prevention technologies. The firm is committed to companies with breakthrough technologies that deliver significant economic value to large potential markets.
On the Web: www.rockportcap.com
About Altira Group
Altira Group LLC is a Denver-based private equity and venture firm that has profitably invested in energy technology companies for over 12 years. Their portfolio includes companies in both the traditional and renewable energy sectors. Altira pursues opportunities to commercialize transformative technologies that drive efficiency and productivity gains throughout the energy value chain while reducing the carbon footprint. Altira is currently investing out of its fifth fund. The typical initial investment in a portfolio company is in the $5-$15 Million range, with follow-on investments as warranted. Altira seeks investment opportunities led by experienced and dedicated management teams who are commercializing new energy technologies with high growth potential.
On the Web: www.altiragroup.com
About CTTV Investments LLC
CTTV Investments LLC (CTVI) is the venture capital arm of Chevron Technology Ventures. CTVI uses a world-class venture capital model to identify and access technologies from early-stage companies that have the potential to strengthen Chevron’s core operations.
On the Web: www.chevron.com/technologyventures
About NGP Energy Technology Partners
NGP Energy Technology Partners, L.P. is a Washington, D.C.–based $148 million fund investing growth equity capital in companies providing technology-related products and services to the oil and gas, power and alternative energy sectors. The fund is managed by investment professionals with extensive experience investing in virtually all types of energy technologies and a strong track record of helping companies grow, create value, and establish strategic partnerships. NGP Energy Technology Partners is an affiliate of NGP Energy Capital Management, a $4.2 Billion firm based in Irving, Texas that invests in all sectors of the energy industry.
On the Web: www.ngpetp.com