24 May 2010


AQT partners with module maker and solar system firm to speed CIGS PV cells to market

Applied Quantum Technology (AQT) of Santa Clara, CA, USA has announced partnerships with high-volume PV cell and module maker Solar Enertech and solar power design and installation firm HelioPower to drive delivery and deployment of its low-cost copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic cells into commercial projects this year. AQT says that the partnerships validate its unique 'CIGS 2.0' business model and will accelerate fulfillment of the growing number of orders for its low-cost alternative to traditional solar cells.

Founded in 2007, AQT uses a proprietary process ( allowing continuous in-line manufacturing ) together with platforms that have been field-proven in the hard-disk-drive industry . The firm has raised almost $15m in funds. This includes a $10m second round of venture funding in early April to build out an initial 15MW production line in a new, leased Silicon Valley R&D and manufacturing facility (close to the firm’s headquarters) in order to fulfill current customer orders due by year end . The firm also plans to expand staffing in anticipation of full-scale production over the next 12 months (targeting 50MW in 2011).

Solar Enertech's R&D team will act as a module manufacturing partner to help complete the final process of turning AQT's CIGS cells into modules, and will assist with product certification and qualification, starting in second-half 2010. "It is in line with our value-added strategy to the non-silicon segment and leverages our creative technology team," says Solar Enertech’s CEO Leo Young.

HelioPower has engineered solar power solutions for residential, commercial, community and utility-scale partners since 2001, and has designed and installed more than 1000 solar power systems worldwide. The firm will jointly address AQT's initial customer installations, aiming to provide a smooth market introduction for AQT's products. "Reliability, flexibility and economic viability are the cornerstones of our business model," says Ty Jagerson, HelioPower’s executive VP, commercial sales. "We see AQT's products as a natural addition to our solar portfolio."

Also in early April, AQT announced a strategic partnership with Santa Clara-based Intevac, which design and develops high-productivity ‘lean’ manufacturing systems, to supply its production-proven manufacturing equipment for AQT's current and future production needs.

"AQT's CIGS 2.0 business model relies as much on world-class partners like Solar Enertech and HelioPower as it does on our breakthrough solar cells, and we will leverage the existing PV ecosystem to rapidly deliver solar solutions to market," says the firm's CEO Michael Bartholomeusz. "Leverage is perhaps the most effective force multiplier in this space and will go a long way towards helping us to collectively attain grid parity."

See related item:

CIGS PV maker AQT raises $10m to fund first, 15MW production plant

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