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Prominent VC Firms Pump More Capital into MiaSole’s CIGS Solar PV

Post Time:Mar 09,2012Classify:Company NewsView:400

The Santa Clara, California-based manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar photovoltaic (PV) panels announced yesterday that it has raised $55 million in venture capital (VC) from leading VC firms including Vantage Point VantagePoint Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB), Bessemer Venture Partners, Firelake Capital Management and Passport Capital. All of them have previously invested in MiaSole, which operates a 150-MW CIGS manufacturing facility in Santa Clara.

 China Glass Network

“This funding comes at a time when the company has begun production of 14% modules with the industry’s lowest capex per watt, which is now under 50 cents. We are pleased that investors have demonstrated a powerful endorsement of our strategy and growing success in the market,” said John Carrington, MiaSolé CEO.


“This additional investment will allow us to take the company to the next level and we are focused on aggressively building the commercial side of our business with both our traditional glass-on-glass and flexible products. We have demonstrated technology leadership and are now focused on commercial performance: our investors have responded to that.”


Thin-Film CIGS Investments on the Rise


Investments have been flowing in to CIGS thin-film solar energy manufacturers so far this year. Energy conversion efficiencies and manufacturing processes for thin-film CIGS have been improving, making it an increasingly attractive alternative to thin-film cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar panels.


The VC investment in MiaSole comes on the heels of Loveland, Colorado-based thin-film CdTe manufacturer Abound Solar announcing that it was shutting down production at its facility in Loveland, Colorado in order to retool and focus on developing its second generation solar CdTe PV modules.


Noting challenges to thin-film CIGS manufacturers that includes realizing further cost reductions and conversion efficiencies, Lux Research nonetheless forecasts that CIGS PV installations will double ins size to reach $2.35 billion in value by 2015.


Showa Shell Sekiyu’s Solar Frontier, the largest CIGS solar PV manufacturer, and EDF Energies Nouvelles in mid-January announced the largest CIGS PV supply contract to date. The agreement calls for Solar Frontier to supply up to 150-MWp of CIGS PV panels to EDF Energies Nouvelles, which is constructing the 100+ MW Catalina Solar Project in Kern County, California.


Having come to dominate silicon solar PV manufacturing, China’s now focusing on thin-film solar PV. China’s TGF Radiant Group in early January announced it was acquiring an additional 21% equity stake in Colorado CIGS thin-film manufacturer Ascent Solar Technologies, bringing its share of ownership to 41%. Including an exclusive East Asia license to Ascent’s technology, TGF intends to invest $165 million to build a CIGS manufacturing plant in China.


For its part MiaSole increased the energy conversion efficiency of its thin-film CIGS PV more than 30% in 2011. The company’s installed more than 55-MW of solar modules in projects spanning North America, Europe and Asia. This includes both traditional glass-on-glass solar PV, as well as flexible, rolled rooftop products.


Vantage Point Capital Partners’ managing director Stephan Dolezak touted MiaSole’s prospects and potential. “MiaSolé is entering into an important time in its history. It has the right strategy, the right technology and the right team to deliver a new benchmark in solar for cost, performance and capital efficiency with the enormous benefit of being able to compete in both the traditional glass and flexible panel markets.”


Investor backing for competing Cd-Te solar PV isn’t dying out either, even in light of troubles at market leader First Solar. GE last October announced it will invest as much as $600 million to build the world’s largest thin-film solar PV manufacturing plant, a 400-MW facility– enough to power 80,000 homes a year– in the Denver suburb or Aurora.

Source: http://cleantechnica.comAuthor: shangyi

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