The Israeli cleantech company AORA, formerly EDIG Solar, has raised $5 million in a round of series A funding led by EZKlein Partners, EDIG Construction and L&Q Solar, a group of international solar energy investors.
AORA will use the funds to commission a commercial hybrid solar thermal gas-turbine power station in Kibbutz Samar in Israel’s Arava region. Work has already started, and the station, which should have 100-kilowatt electricity capacity and 170-kilowatt heat capacity, is expected to launch operations at the end of March.
AORA COO Yuval Susskind told the Cleantech Group his company is targeting a market less affected by the credit crunch than large-scale installations, such as those planned by BrightSource Energy.
"The solar industry is segmented into two themes: there's the photovoltaics that you put on homes, and, on the other hand, there are the huge solar companies out in the desert," said Susskind. "In the middle there's nobody working on providing 100 kilowatts to 5 megawatts of solar thermal and doing it close to people's homes.”
AORA’s technology allows the system to run on solar radiation input as well as most alternative fuels, including biogas, biodiesel and natural gas. The hybrid approach means that at times when sunlight is insufficient (at night, on a cloudy day), fuel helps generate electricity.
The company also intends to use the newly raised capital to develop manufacturing capabilities, expand its market and further its R&D efforts.