25 January 2011

Sulfurcell gains €18.8m for CIGSe PV module production expansion and launch

Sulfurcell of Berlin, Germany, which manufactures both sulfur-based CIGS and selenium-based CIGSe thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, has secured €18.8m ($25m) in equity funding.

The financing round was led by Intel Capital (the global investment arm of Intel Corp) and joined by other existing investors (London-based Climate Change Capital Private Equity and Zouk Ventures, Copenhagen-based Bankinvest Group, New York-based Masdar Clean Tech Investments and Paris-based Demeter) — all of which had previously contributed to a €85m equity funding round in July 2008. Sulfurcell’s long-term investors (since its first financing round in 2002) — led by the BEU fund (supported by Berlin-based Vattenfall Europe and Berlin/Paris-based GdF Suez) — also contributed substantially, joined by Ventegis Capital AG, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft and others.

Founded in 2001 as a spin-off from the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy (previously the Hahn-Meitner Institute), Sulfurcell says that it has developed unique, comprehensive solutions for the building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), solar construction and commercial rooftop sectors. Since producing and shipping its first modules to customers in 2005, the firm has commercialized on a mass scale, employing 250 staff. “In the last five years, Sulfurcell has become an important provider of solutions for solar construction and building-integrated photovoltaics,” comments Intel Capital investment director Heiko von Dewitz.

The funding follows Sulfurcell recently manufacturing full-scale thin-film modules with an efficiency of 12.6%. “The financing is the result of our great progress in 2010, in which we developed an industrial manufacturing process delivering thin-film modules with efficiencies over 12%, while also ramping up our brand new 35MW production plant and fully automated manufacturing facility," says CEO Dr Nikolaus Meyer. “This additional funding from our existing investors is a vote of confidence that will allow us to accelerate our technological progress.”

Sulfurcell is migrating its production from sulfur-based CIGS cells to higher-efficiency selenium-based CIGSe cells. Investors have already funded the acquisition of additional CIGSe equipment as well as ongoing R&D work targeting 14% efficiency within the next 12–18 months. Sulfurcell will use the new funds for the expansion and market introduction of its second-generation thin-film PV technology.

“The investment will allow Sulfurcell to continue the successful development of its leading-edge CIGSe technology,” comments von Dewitz. “The company’s efforts align well with Intel’s focus on investing in the design, development and delivery of new technologies to address sustainability challenges,” he adds.

Tags: Sulfurcell CIGSe

Visit: www.sulfurcell.com

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