Thin-film solar startup HelioVolt has closed its latest round of financing, raising a total of $101 million since August. The Austin, Texas, company has developed flexible solar cells that it says can be integrated into building materials like roofs, skylights, windows and skyscraper facades. With its latest round, HelioVolt has put itself on equal financial footing with Silicon Valley thin-film startup Nanosolar, a VC favorite. HelioVolt and Nanosolar use copper indium gallium selenide as a semiconducting material rather than expensive silicon. Although the efficiency of thin-film solar is less than conventional photovoltaic panels, the CIGS cells can be printed on rolls of flexible material at lower costs. HelioVolt will use its $101 million to build factories, which it plans to locate near manufacturers of building and construction materials. Nanosolar, meanwhile, is building a thin-film factory in San Jose. While CIGS thin-film startups have yet to produce a product, investors appear to be patient, judging by HelioVolt’s latest round. Among the investors are Sequel Venture Partners, Noventi Ventures, Passport Capital, Paladin Capital Group, Masdar Clean Tech Fund, New Enterprise Associates, Solúcar Energia, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments (MS), Sunton United Energy, and Yellowstone Capital.
Fat Funding for Thin-Film Solar Startup
October 22, 2007 by Todd Woody