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7 January 2009


HelioVolt lays off staff

HelioVolt Corp of Austin, TX, USA, which was founded in 2001 to develop copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar materials that can be applied to building materials (including metal, plastic and glass), has laid off about 15 staff (nearly 15% of its workforce). The cuts are attributed to the weak economy and because the firm is shifting away from pure research toward product manufacturing, according to a report in The Austin American-Statesman.

The firm opened its $80m 122,400-square-foot factory in the Expo Business Park in Southeast Austin in late October, and had been readying it to start production this month, creating 160 jobs (ramping up to 300 and a capacity of 20MW by the end of 2009).

The job cuts were “a natural consequence of the transition of the company from being development-oriented to ramping up for manufacturing operations,” says founder & CEO B.J. Stanbery. “We have had to re-balance our workforce in a tough economic environment where we need to be careful with our cash.” Stanbery adds that HelioVolt should still have its factory qualified to begin production this year.

HelioVolt raised $8m in a Series A venture capital funding round in 2005, followed in October 2007 by a $101m Series B round to optimize its proprietary FASST manufacturing process for further efficiency gains and to scale up the process into volume production, as well as pursuing international expansion goals.

Subsequently, in April 2008, HelioVolt was awarded $1m from the Texas Enterprise Fund as part of a deal to construct the plant, as well as an estimated $600,000 in tax subsidies from the City of Austin. Stanbery says that the firm is still in full compliance with the incentive agreements it made with both the City of Austin and the state.

See related items:

HelioVolt hits 12.2% thin-film PV efficiency with 6 minute printing process

HelioVolt partners with AGA on BIPVs

Search: HelioVolt CIGS



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