CIT GAP Funds Invests in Sunnovations Inc.

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Eco-friendly solar hot water systems provide hassle-free, affordable domestic water heating


Center for Innovative Technology GAP Funds

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today that its Commonwealth Energy Fund (CEF) has invested $200,000 as part of a larger round in McLean, Va.-based Sunnovations Inc., a clean technology company specializing in solar hot water (SHW) systems for the US and international residential markets.

Sunnovations’ SHW system is based on its patented “geyser pump,” which uses no electricity and has no moving parts, displacing expensive and failure-prone electric pumps, controllers and sensors. Removal of these active components found in conventional solar hot water systems cuts costs, simplifies installation and provides greater reliability than existing systems on the market. Sunnovations’ robust product pipeline also includes a low-cost SHW monitoring system that tracks actual energy production and homeowner savings from their system.

CIT President and CEO Pete Jobse said, “Sunnovations’ dynamic SHW products are an efficient and eco-friendly way to heat a home’s water and save money at the same time. This Virginia-grown innovation demonstrates that the Commonwealth can be a leader of clean technology in the nation.”

Sunnovations’ solar thermal energy systems have a unique, passive overheat protection design, providing another advantage over conventional SHW systems. Sunnovations’ system is also hybrid-powered, offering hot water regardless of cloudy days and limited sun exposure.

Sunnovations’ CEO Matt Carlson said, “Water heating is the second largest consumer of energy in American homes, representing 18% of the average energy footprint. Our solar hot water system can displace up to 75% of the energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional water heating. Sunnovations is working to make SHW a mass market technology in the US and aggressively pursuing the $12 billion global solar heating market with our innovative technology.”

Tom Weithman, CIT Vice President and GAP Funds Managing Director, said, “Sunnovations’ products provide a cost-effective solution for home heating. With our investment, Sunnovations plans to lower manufacturing costs, streamline distribution and grow their workforce in Virginia.”

Since its 2005 launch, CIT GAP Funds has placed over 60 investments across the Commonwealth, deploying more than $5M of public funds and attracting greater than $10 dollars of private funding for every $1 of public money invested. (For a list of portfolio companies, please visit the GAP Funds website.)

Drawing on the CIT GAP Funds investment model, CIT partnered with Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to establish the CEF to invest in commercially-ready innovation in Virginia’s energy and clean tech sectors.

To learn more about Sunnovations Inc., please visit

About the Center for Innovative Technology,

CIT is a nonprofit corporation that accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies. CIT creates new technology companies through capital formation, market development and revenue generation services. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between innovative technology startup companies and advanced technology consumers.

About the CIT GAP Funds,

CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, clean tech and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors and the Commonwealth of Virginia. CIT GAP Funds investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as: New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources.


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