By Jonathan Shieber 8/27/2007

Concentrating solar technology company Sopogy Inc. is launching a new $9 million fund-raising effort as it expands its business in the continental U.S., the company’s CEO told VentureWire.

The Honolulu-based company is establishing its sales office in California and is looking at opening another office in the Midwest, according to an interview with Chief Executive Darren Kimura.

“We’re at the expansion stage,” Kimura said. He plans to use the funds that the company expects to raise to grow its mainland presence and expand its manufacturing and research and development, he said.

Sopogy has already established a foothold in the U.S. with its recently announced deployment of the company’s concentrating solar power technology at the Avista Clean Energy Test Site in Rathdrum, Idaho. Spokane, Wash.-based Avista Corp. produces, transmits and distributes energy across three Northwestern states.

The trial will demonstrate how Sopogy’s technology will perform in a Northern climate, demonstrating power on a utility-grid scale, Sopogy said.

Sopogy has developed a small-scale solar thermal technology that can be used to process heat, or for electricity generation, the company said. The goal is to develop distributed systems that can be cheaply installed on residential and light-commercial rooftops, to supply renewable power to utility grids, Kimura said.

It has been a busy summer for Sopogy. In addition to lining up the project in Idaho, the company also received approval to receive $10 million in special purpose revenue bonds from Hawaii.

The bonds will assist with the planning, design and construction of a solar power plant at Hawaii’s National Energy Laboratory or another suitable site, the company said.

The company had previously raised $3 million in seed funding from undisclosed institutional and angel investors. Sopogy is listed on the Web site of the portfolio of Hawaii Angels, a nonprofit investment group that pools money from individuals.