Last year a San Jose, CA, company called Solexant rebranded as Siva Power and starter to focus on CIGS thin-film solar. It looks like it’s refocusing strategy has been successful because it just got $15 million in funding from Acero Capital, DBL Investors, and Trident Capital. All three had invested in The company previously. Siva also has a first-time investor in the city of Wuxi, China.
Solexant started up in 2006 with a focus on cadmium-telluride solar and the mission to build its own factory. (This strategy might have been premature if its solar module production process had not been perfected.) Similar startups like SoloPower AQT, Nanosolar, and Solyndra peaked and plunged.
A pivotal moment for Solexant was the addition of Brad Mattson to its board. He had observed hundreds of similar companies and their stuggles. He helped the company switch to more efficient CIGS solar. Last year he explained in an article, “The ability to adjust the CIGS composition is not a negative, as portrayed, but a positive, because it allows you to vary the composition through the film with different stoichiometry on the back contact, bulk, and front contact. This is an awesome advantage and one of the reasons CIGS holds all the records. Yes, it requires superior process control, but we figured out how to do process control in other industries decades ago.”
Siva Power intends to use the influx of $15 million for scaling up a gigawatt-scale production facility. The new investment could help the company move towards making a solar thin-film module at a cost of 40 cents per watt. On the Siva Power website, the rationale for the business model is summarized as such: “Filling the 46,000 gigawatt energy gap by 2050 requires a new solar business model that offers low cost at a profit.”
Leroy Luo has also been hired to head up Siva Power China to help with operations in that important market. He is an industry veteran and principal at Elementary Energy Technologies.
Efficiencies of 20% for CIGS solar cells have been claimed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Zentrum für Sonnenenergie und Wasserstoff Forschung (ZSW).
Image Credit: Siva Power