12 January 2012

CIGS PV firm AQT secures $18.7m in Series B funding round

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), privately held AQT Solar Inc of Sunnyvale, CA, USA has raised the first $18.7m of a planned $21.7m Series B round of venture funding from four unnamed investors, at a higher valuation for the firm than the previous round, bringing the total capital raised since AQT was founded in 2007 to $33.7m (including a $10m round that closed in 2010). The latest funding will be used to deploy a second copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar cell production line at its Sunnyvale facility, doubling production capacity.

AQT says that this funding round follows a year of consistent progress and growth. After starting production in August 2010, the Sunnyvale site is now operating around the clock and will have an installed annual capacity of more than 30MW by mid-2012. AQT’s cells are currently used in 100W of CIGS PV modules that are being field deployed. By year-end, up to 180W of modules powered by AQT cells are expected to be available in the market.

AQT says that its CIGS 2.0 technology allows for continuous in-line production, which simplifies and streamlines the manufacturing process, resulting in what is claimed to be the highest projected capital efficiency in the industry, while minimizing component costs. This manufacturing path has resulted in the development, shipment and scaling of CIGS module product in just four years and for less than $40m in funding.

“Our business strategy uniquely positions us to compete and grow in an increasingly crowded, noisy and aggressive market,” states AQT’s Michael Bartholomeusz. “AQT is laser focused on what we believe are the key elements to success in any commodity industry: leverage, cost, risk mitigation, partnerships and future proofing.”

In January 2011, AQT selected a facility in Richland County, South Carolina as the site for its second manufacturing plant, targeting initial annual production capacity of 30–40MW by the end of 2011, expanding to 1000MW by 2015. However, the firm now says that its plans for manufacturing outside California “will be clarified at a future date”.

Tags: AQT Solar CIGS PV cells

Visit: www.aqtsolar.com

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