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22 October 2007


HelioVolt raises second-round funding by $24m to over $100m

HelioVolt Corp of Austin, TX, USA, which has developed thin-film solar cells based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), has raised $24m from investors including Sequel Venture Partners, Noventi Ventures, and Passport Capital. This brings HelioVolt’s second-round funding to $101m, including $77m raised in August. Total funding is now $109m, including $8m from 2005’s first round.

Founded in 2001, HelioVolt is using the funds to build an $80m manufacturing plant and is considering several sites, including Austin. It has won approval from the Austin City Council for a 10-year abatement of 60% of its property taxes, after pledging to create at least 168 jobs (the firm’s current staffing is about 40).

HelioVolt expects to start limited production by mid-2008 and to ramp into volume production by first-quarter 2009. The initial plant will have a capacity of about 20MW, but will be able to expand up to 40 MW, according to VP of marketing John Langdon. HelioVolt aims to produce both conventional solar modules and building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products

HelioVolt’s proprietary FASST manufacturing technology uses a low-cost process based on rapid semiconductor printing of the active CIGS material. Compared to a conversion efficiency of 22% for commercially available silicon solar cells, HelioVolt's first cells will likely have a conversion efficiency of 10-12%, although 12-15% should be commercially viable. However, CIGS cells are cheaper.

See related items:

HelioVolt raises $77m in second-round funding for CIGS

SoloPower raises $30m in funding following $2.37m DoE grant award

Emerging PV technologies growing at 43% annually

DOE funds first projects in $168m Solar America Initiative

HelioVolt and Exeltech to co-develop CIGS-enabled solar modules and building-integrated photovoltaic products

Search: Solar cells CIGS