Thin is in. HelioVolt, an Austin, Texas-based thin-film solar startup, has raised a $77 million round, indicating that investors are still betting on the yet-to-be-realized promise of a technology that could integrate solar cells into everything from windows to building facades. Although the efficiency of thin-film solar is less than conventional photovoltaics, the cells can be printed on rolls of flexible material at lower costs. The payoff, HelioVolt executive John Langdon told Green Wombat last year, is a relatively inexpensive solar film that could be incorporated into the roofs and walls of homes and office towers and, eventually, even windows so that a skyscraper, for instance, might generate half of the electricity it needs. The $77 million that HelioVolt raised from a group of international investors puts it within shouting distance of better-known competitors like Silicon Valley’s Nanosolar, which has raised around $100 million. HelioVolt will tap the $77 million to build its first factory to produce so-called building-integrated photovoltaic systems. Leading HelioVolt’s latest round are Washington, D.C.’s Paladin Capital Group and Masdar Clean Tech Fund – funded by the government of Abu Dhabi, Credit Suisse (CS) and Siemens (SI). Other investors include Silicon Valley’s New Enterprise Associates, Spain’s Solúcar Energias, Morgan Stanley (MS) and Sunton United Energy.
Solar Startup HelioVolt Scores $77 Million
August 16, 2007 by Todd Woody