17 June 2010


Stion licenses CIGSS technology to TSMC

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd (TSMC) of Hsinchu, Taiwan (the world’s largest pure-play silicon foundry) and Stion Corp of San Jose, CA, USA, which manufactures high-efficiency nanostructure-based thin-film photovoltaic modules, have reached a series of agreements covering technology licensing, supply, and joint development.

In addition, TSMC affiliate VentureTech Alliance is to invest $50m to take a 21% stake in Stion. Founded in 2006 as Nstructures, Stion raised $15m in June 2007 in a Series B financing round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and joined by General Catalyst Partners along with previous investors Khosla Ventures and Braemar Energy Ventures. These are all said to have now supplemented TSMC’s $50m by boosting this latest Series D fundraising round to $70m (making the total raised since 2006 $114.6m). The new funding will be used to expand the annual capacity of Stion's existing facility from 10MW to 100MW of solar panels, adding 500 new temporary and permanent jobs in the next two years, it is intended.

Under the new agreements, Stion licenses and transfers its thin-film CIGSS (copper indium gallium sulfur-selenide) technology to TSMC, while TSMC will provide a certain quantity of solar modules to Stion using the technology. TSMC and Stion will also work together to enhance the thin-film technology through joint development.

“Working with Stion, TSMC gains a robust thin-film technology with inherent low cost structure,” says Dr Rick Tsai, TSMC’s president of New Businesses. “With TSMC’s R&D capabilities and manufacturing expertise, we believe we can achieve long-term overall leadership in solar PV solutions,” he adds.

“The collaboration enables Stion to scale its operations, leveraging both companies’ strengths,” comments Stion;s president & CEO Chet Farris.

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