Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thin-Film Solar Funds: Innovalight Raises $28M

innovalight1.jpg In the race to produce cheaper solar cells using new manufacturing methods and materials, solar startups have been requiring more and more money to get their products to market. Over the past few months, Konarka, Miasolé, HelioVolt, and Nanosolar have all raised funding in an effort to reach the large-scale manufacturing stage. Another company made a funding announcement this morning: Innovalight, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based solar startup founded in 2002, said today it has raised $28 million in a Series C round.

Innovalight CEO Conrad Burke explains to us in an email that the company's technology is based on a liquid silicon ink, which contains silicon nanoparticles. A lot of the other thin-film startups are using non-silicon materials, which (at the moment) can be cheaper than silicon, but also less efficient. Innovalight is betting that its silicon ink and printing process can bring down the cost of manufacturing a solar cell and also keep the cell's efficiency levels up.

The round was led by Norway-based investor, Convexa Capital, with participation by Scatec AS, Apax Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Harris & Harris Group, Sevin Rosen Funds and Triton Ventures. The company already raised $14 million in its Series A and B rounds. With the new funds, the company says it will move to a new 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., and hopes to start selling its solar cells in 2009.