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17 September 2008


CIGS PV maker SoloPower raises $200m

SoloPower of San Jose, CA, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), has raised almost $200m in venture capital to ramp up manufacturing at a 100MW-per-year plant, according to a report in VentureWire.

The firm’s technology uses a roll-to-roll manufacturing process that layers CIGS cells onto a flexible substrate by electroplating rather than the sputtering technique used by some other CIGS PV makers.

SoloPower's latest funding follows a Series A funding round in June 2006 led by Crosslink Capital and Firsthand Capital Management (after which the firm began building its pilot manufacturing line that December), and a $30m Series B round in July 2007 led by Convexa Capital and Alf Bjørseth (co-founder of REC Group) after being selected by the US Department of Energy to participate in the Solar America Initiative (SAI) Incubator Program. SoloPower relocated to its new 109,000 square foot manufacturing plant this January.

The firm's latest round of funding follows a spate of large investments in thin-film PV start-ups. After starting roll-to-roll production of CIGS PV panels last December, in March Nanosolar Inc of Palo Alto, CA raised $300m in funding (bringing total funding to about $450m). CIGS PV maker Miasolé of Santa Clara, CA is said to have raised $200-220m last month to ramp up manufacturing and bolster commercialization. Meanwhile, in late August, Colorado State University spin-off AVA Technologies LLC of Fort Collins, CO, which makes solar cells based on cadmium telluride (CdTe), raised $104m in a second institutional equity financing round to fund completion of its first large-scale manufacturing facility in early 2009.

See related items:

Thin film technology set to top 30% of solar cell market by 2015

Thin film to take 28% of PV market by 2012

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

SoloPower recruits VP of research from NREL

SoloPower raises $30m in funding following $2.37m DoE grant award

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