Wednesday, May 14, 2008

HelioVolt's new thin-film recors; BrightSource lights up with more funding

Austin, Texas-based solar startup HelioVolt announced that it has reached 12.2 percent efficiency with its copper indium gallium selenide (or CIGS) solar cells, which are ideal for built-in PV applications. This is getting ever so closer to the 15 to 20% range of most crystalline based PV efficiencies.

HelioVolt's "secret weapon" is its manufacturing process, dubbed FASST™. According to the company's website, FASST™ is "the fastest and most cost-effective technology for printing thin-film CIGS on the market today[,]10 to 100 times faster than current processes."

Elsewhere, solar thermal company BrightSource Energy has shored up an additional $115 million in Series C financing. Investors included, VantagePoint Venture Partners, BP Alternative Energy, Statoil Hydro Venture, and Cargill subsidiary Black River. Existing investors DBL Investors, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Chevron Technology Ventures also participated.

BrightSource's "distributed power tower" technology uses an array of mirrors or lenses known as "heliostats" that concentrate sunlight onto a liquid housed in a "solar boiler." The heated liquid in turn makes steam that turns an electricity turbine. For more on BrightSource's technology, go here. As a testament to BrightSource's technology, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company recently signed a contract with BrightSource for up to 900 megawatts (MW) of solar thermal power.


Samantha Jacoby said...

If you'd like to hear more about, BrightSource, and BP Alternative Energy, you should attend the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street (, held June 18-19 in New York City. Dan Reicher of will chair the event, and the CEO of BP Alternative Energy, Vivienne Cox, will be a keynote speaker. In addition, John Woolard, the CEO of BrightSource Energy will join the CEOs of Acciona North America and Abengoa Solar in a discussion about the future of solar thermal power. Other topics for discussion at the event will include wind energy, photovoltaics, biofuels, carbon finance, the role of venture capital, and more.

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