24 May 2012

CIGS PV firm SoloPower raises a further $7.1m

SoloPower Inc of San Jose, CA, USA, which makes thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) cells and lightweight flexible solar modules using a proprietary roll-to-roll electro-deposition process, has raised an extra $7.1m in financing from existing investors, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm’s investors include Hudson Clean Energy Partners, Crosslink Capital, Convexa Capital and Firsthand Capital.

The firm, which is building out and staffing a $340m high-volume manufacturing facility in Portland, OR, last August finalized a $197m US Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee.

The latest financing follows a $20m round of debt financing and options closed last December that was described by CEO Tim Harris as a ‘critical step’ toward completing the Portland facility, which will have an annual production capacity of 400MW.

While there have been a number of high-profile loan guarantee-backed ‘flameouts’ (most notably CIGS PV module maker Solyndra), Harris is adamant that the firm is moving ahead quickly. In March, the firm achieved an aperture area efficiency of 13.4% - claimed to be a record for flexible CIGS-based modules – as measured by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). SoloPower also claims that its flexible solar panels (which are designed specifically for large-scale rooftop applications) are lighter and easier to install than rack-mounted arrays of silicon-based photovoltaics.

But, as Greentech Media’s Eric Wesoff points out, the firm is wading into an as-yet unproven market and, with the price of conventional silicon solar panels continuing to shrink, its value proposition may be on the decline as well.

Tags: SoloPower CIGS

Visit: www.solopower.com

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