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9 June 2008


Stion recruits VPs of engineering and R&D

Stion Corp of San Jose, CA, USA, which is developing high-efficiency, nanostructure-based thin-film photovoltaic modules, has hired Dr Robert Wieting, who has 28 years of product development experience in photovoltaics, as VP of R&D. He will lead day-to-day R&D activities, and reports to chief technology officer Howard Lee.

Founded in 2006 as Nstructures, Stion raised $15m in June 2007 in a Series B financing round, with the aim of hiring staff and accelerating product development efforts.

Wieting joins from being CTO of Regenesis Power LLC, a provider of turnkey PV systems financed using power purchase agreements. Previously, he was director of engineering at Shell Solar Industries, where he led the technical team from R&D to megawatt-scale manufacturing of the world’s first fully qualified thin-film module made using copper indium diselenide (CIS).

“Bob is an ideal candidate to lead our R&D efforts as we move closer to commercialization,” says president & CEO Chet Farris (a former president of Shell Solar Industries). “He is one of the most experienced thin-film scientists in the solar industry, and he has a strong overall understanding of product development that will help us bring our technology to market more rapidly.”

Prior to Shell, Wieting worked at its predecessor companies Siemens Solar, PV Electric GmbH, and Arco Solar in management positions involving both R&D and engineering. He has led development, scale-up, and manufacturing of amorphous silicon (a-Si), a-Si/germanium, and CIS thin-film devices, and has expertise in the areas of module reliability, device characterization, coating development, and product introduction. He also has a PhD in physical chemistry from Stanford University and a BA in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, as well as holding five US patents focused on photovoltaics.

Stion has also hired Dr Steven Aragon, who has 20 years of experience in thin-film materials, processes, and systems, as VP of engineering. Aragon will lead Stion’s efforts to scale up and optimize its product. He reports to chief operating officer Vineet Dharmadhikari, who was recruited last December from being VP/general manager of the Metrology Division of process control and yield management solutions provider KLA-Tencor (as well as being a veteran of process tool maker Novellus Systems Inc, Intevac Systems, and Genus Inc, now part of Aixtron AG).

Aragon joins from being VP of engineering at DayStar Technologies Inc of Santa Clara, CA, USA, a publicly traded manufacturer of thin-film photovoltaic products based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS).

“Steve’s first-hand experience in building production lines and scaling up thin-film products is a great fit for Stion as we set up our initial manufacturing capabilities,” says Farris.

Prior to DayStar, Aragon was program manager for DC Plasma Power Products at Advanced Energy Industries (a $650m company that provides power and flow technologies for thin-film manufacturing and solar power applications), where he was responsible for design, development, and implementation of new product platforms that are now the flagship products in AE’s thin-film solar line.

Aragon also spent 12 years in process engineering and process application roles with SciVac/Optcom and Intevac Systems, where he established an Applications Research Center.

Aragon has a PhD and MS in Physical Chemistry from the University of California, an MBA in Finance from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Chemistry from the University of Northern Colorado. He also holds two US patents.

*In March, Stion announced its relocation from Menlo Park, CA to a leased former IBM facility in South San Jose’s Industrial Park housing both its corporate headquarters and its initial production facilities. The San Jose City Council’s Redevelopment Agency provided $700,000 for the purchase of manufacturing equipment.

A key goal of the San Jose Redevelopment Agency’s Edenvale Emerging Technologies Fund program is to attract emerging technology companies to the Edenvale Redevelopment Project Area. Since the fund’s inception in 2006, Stion is the third solar technology firm to move to Edenvale, following Nanosolar and SoloPower. “The Redevelopment Agency’s work was instrumental in our decision to move to Edenvale,” said Farris.

Search: Thin-film photovoltaic modules

Visit: www.stion.com