Silicon Valley solar startup SolFocus has raised $52 million in its latest round, including $27.2 to finance the expansion of its new Madrid-based operation. The Mountain View company, which now has raised a total of $84 million, is developing a concentrator photovoltaic technology that uses mirrors arrayed in panels to focus the sun’s rays on solar cells. One advantage of such a system is that it uses a fraction of expensive silicon to produce solar electricity. Though the startup has yet to bring a product to market, it’s joined other companies in heading to Spain, a hotbed of solar activity due to a "feed-in tariff" that pays operators of solar power plants a guaranteed above-market rate for the electricity they produce. SolFocus is one of three companies working on a 3-megawatt concentrator photovoltaic installation in Castilla, la Mancha, according to the company. Participating in the latest funding round are New Enterprise Associates, Moser Baer India, David Gelbaum, Metasystem Group, NGEN Partners, and Yellowstone Capital.
In other solar news, former SolFocus director of field operations Stephen Smith is going to San Francisco solar startup GreenVolts to be its director of project operations. GreenVolts, which is developing concentrator photovoltaic power plants, also said it hired an Intel veteran, Joseph “Chip” Krauskopf, as chief operating officer. Meanwhile, SunPower (SPWR) announced today that it is moving into the Italian market, selling solar systems for residential, commercial and power plant installations.