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Venture Capital News: QBotix Grabs $12M Investment

MENLO PARK, CA, QBotix announced $12 million in Series B financing.
QBotix, which delivers up to 20% improvements in solar PV project economics with the optimized Robotic Tracking System™ (RTS), today announced $12 million in Series B financing. E.ON and Iberdrola (Inversiones Financieras Perseo, S.L.) joined existing investors, New Enterprise Associates, Firelake Capital Management and Draper Nexus, in the funding round.

'We are very excited to welcome E.ON and Iberdrola, as investors and strategic partners. As diversified global energy companies, their commitment to QBotix validates our strong value proposition,' said Wasiq Bokhari, Founder and CEO. 'Our bankable system provides up to 15% more energy than single-axis trackers and up to 45% more energy than fixed-tilt mounting systems, and it can provide an immediate reduction of up to 20% in CAPEX or levelized cost of energy for our commercial and utility-scale customers.'

E.ON and Iberdrola are among the largest global energy companies with wholesale power generation utility divisions providing electricity to residential, commercial, and industrial customers across four continents. As energy leaders, they realize that as PV costs stabilize, subsidies recede, and grid-parity is achieved in markets globally, the long-term technology winners in solar are those that can deliver more energy at less cost. Additionally, electricity providers realize that the optimized dual-axis tracking with a 'square' daily power profile as provided by the RTS is best suited to address the opportunities and challenges associated with grid integration of solar with smart grid and storage applications.

'E.ON has tested the QBotix RTS for over a year and has evaluated the system's ability to produce significantly more energy than fixed-tilt and single-axis tracking systems,' said Urban Keussen, Senior Vice President, Technology & Innovation at E.ON SE. 'E.ON is in the business of providing reliable, low cost energy to our customers across several countries, and we believe the QBotix RTS has great potential to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for commercial and utility-scale solar projects.'

Today's announcement builds on the company's momentum for 2014. QBotix recently announced successfully completing its $1 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative award project and its first independent engineering (IE) report. Fast Company recently recognized QBotix as one of the world's top 10 most innovative companies in robotics, and QBotix announced a 45 MW supply agreement with UK-based developer Castillium.

Iberdrola Group, the largest electrical utility in Spain, and the world's largest investor in renewable energy, also joined the round. Diego Diaz, Head of Iberdrola's Corporate Venture Capital program said, 'Iberdrola's venture initiative, Inversiones Financieras Perseo, S.L., is growing its investment activity in the US with a focus on partnering with start-up companies that are changing the energy business. We are very excited to work with QBotix, as we believe that the Robotic Tracking System is a revolutionary, highly efficient technology that will contribute to significantly reduce the balance of system costs in solar projects, and ultimately the levelized cost of energy in solar projects.'

QBotix has installed systems in U.S. and Japan, and is actively developing additional projects in the U.S., Europe, Mexico, and Australia. QBotix will use the funds to expand the team, accelerate manufacturing ramp-up and market expansion. The company will be exhibiting at Intersolar Munich in June, Intersolar San Francisco in July, and Solar Power International in Las Vegas in October.

About QBotix

QBotix creates rugged, intelligent, mobile robots for their optimized tracker system that dramatically improve project economics in the commercial and utility-scale solar power plant sectors. Using the new paradigm of solar robotics, the QBotix Robotic Tracking System™ (RTS) delivers project cost savings up to 20%, high system reliability and flexibility of installation.

About E.ON

E.ON is one of the world's largest investor-owned power and gas companies. At facilities across Europe, Russia, and North America, our more than 62,000 employees generated approx. EUR122 billion in sales in 2013. E.ON's diversified business consists of renewables, conventional and decentralized power generation, natural gas, energy trading, retail and distribution. With our broad energy mix we own almost 50 GW of generation capacity and we are one of the world's leading renewables companies. Since 2013 E.ON operates in Brazil and Turkey together with partners. We supply around 35 million customers with energy. In addition, our European power and gas companies serve 17 million grid customers.

About Iberdrola Group

Iberdrola is a private sector company with over 150-years of experience dedicated to energy generation, security of supply, quality and innovation. Since embarking on its growth and international expansion plan in 2001, Iberdrola has become one of the five largest European energy utilities by market capitalization, with a workforce of around 30,600 employees and nearly 32 million customers worldwide.

Iberdrola Group operates over 45,000 MW of generation capacity worldwide, concentrated in its core markets of Spain, the UK, the US and Latin America. Its balanced and diversified generation mix positions Iberdrola to meet diverse energy parameters in the countries where it operates. Also, the Group's commitment to environmentally friendly energy sources, with its emissions 30% below the European energy sector average, has consolidated Iberdrola as the world leader in renewable energies, with over 14,300 MW of power capacity not including significant large-scale hydro which it also operates or is developing in the UK, Spain and Brazil. It is currently developing major offshore wind farms in the UK and Germany, as well as new marine technology including wave and tidal power in the UK.
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