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news digest ♦ Solar


Stion secures $130 million funding led by Korea


The CIGS solar cell manufacturer is continuing its expansion in Mississippi and is launching operations in Korea


Stion has announced a $130 million equity investment led by Avaco and Korean private equity funds.


Prashant Kamat


“The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we’ve reached so far is 1 percent, which is well behind the usual 10 to 15 percent efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells,” explains Kamat.


“But this paint can be made cheaply and in large quantities. If we can improve the efficiency somewhat, we may be able to make a real difference in meeting energy needs in the future.”


“That’s why we’ve christened the new paint, Sun-Believable,” he adds.


Kamat and his team also plan to study ways to improve the stability of the new material.


NDnano is one of the leading nanotechnology centres in the world. Its mission is to study and manipulate the properties of materials and devices, as well as their interfaces with living systems, at the nano-scale.


This research was funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.


Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Taiwan Semiconductor (through VentureTech Alliance), Lightspeed Venture Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, and General Catalyst Partners all participated in the round.


Stion is continuing the planned expansion of its US manufacturing facility in Hattiesburg, MS. Stion will establish a subsidiary in Korea (“Stion Korea”) to build a thin-film module factory to help serve the Asian and European markets. Stion will make a $35 million initial investment into Stion Korea.


“This investment and partnership represents an exceptional opportunity for Stion,” said Chet Farris, Stion’s President & CEO. “Solar has always been a global business and this investment enables Stion to address market demand in Asia and beyond. We have added world-class investors as well as a strategic partner with deep technical expertise.”


“I congratulate Stion officials on this latest round of investment,” said Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi. “Stion opened its first commercial-scale manufacturing plant in Hattiesburg this fall, and I am proud that the innovative company’s high-efficiency, thin- film solar panels are now being produced in Mississippi and selling like hotcakes. I wish Stion continued success as it ramps up to full production in Hattiesburg and continues to sell all it can produce.”


The transaction includes a strategic partnership with Avaco, a leading provider of thin-film


176 www.compoundsemiconductor.net January / February 2012


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