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2 September 2008


Nanosolar raises $300m for utility-scale CIGS PV panel production

Nanosolar Inc of Palo Alto, CA, USA, which makes copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) solar panels using roll-to-roll processing, just last week announced that, back in March, it raised $300m in funding (bringing total funding to about $450m).

Investors include AES Corp of Arlington, VA (one of the world’s largest power producers) and New York-based energy- and power-focused private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC (which also formed the joint venture AES Solar), as well as equity firm the Carlyle Group, Paris-based independent renewable energy power producer EDF Energies Nouvelles SA (a division of EDF, the world’s largest electric utility) and Energy Capital Partners (which owns the San Francisco-based utility-scale solar power project developer NextLight Renewable Power LLC).

Other investors included hedge fund Lone Pine Capital LLC, the Skoll Foundation, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s fund as well as returning investors including GLG Partners, Beck Energy, Conergy and founding investor Grazia Equity.

Last December saw the launch of the Nanosolar Utility Panel, targeted at utility-scale power producers. The firm says that demand for the product has since been matched by support for scaling its availability more rapidly.

As well as equity investment, Nanosolar says that it has received strategic backing from partners suited to accelerating implementation, in the form of product supply agreements and strategic collaborations.

The firm says that the new funding should allow it to meet demand by accelerating production ramp-up at its factories in San Jose, CA, USA and Berlin, Germany (which should have annual capacities of 430MW and 620MW, respectively, after completion of the first phase of construction). Earlier, Nanosolar secured a 50% capex subsidy on the Berlin plant. “We have a plan of expanding production at these sites to more than a gigawatt in a subsequent phase,” says Roscheisen.

“The alliance for solar utility power is the outcome of a year-long effort on behalf of our strategic partners examining the solar industry, investigating virtually every solar company on the planet, and conducting one of the most thorough due diligence efforts, on our manufacturing operation, our scale-up capabilities, and our readiness for the level of cost efficiency demanded by solar utility power,” says CEO Martin Roscheisen.

See related items:

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

EDF invests $50m in CIGS PV maker Nanosolar

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