LONDON – Stion Corp., a startup formed to manufacture thin-film solar modules, has announced a $130 million equity investment led by AVACO and a number of Korean private equity funds. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, TSMC (through its VentureTech Alliance), Lightspeed Venture Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, and General Catalyst Partners all participated in the round.
Stion (San Jose, Calif.), which was founded in 2006 and has now raised in excess of $244 million, is continuing with the planned expansion of its manufacturing facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. With the latest round of funding it plans to establish a subsidiary in South Korea to build thin-film solar module factory. Stion said it will make an initial investment of $35 million in Stion Korea.
The transaction includes a strategic partnership with AVACO, a provider of thin-film processing equipment. The two parties will collaborate to develop next generation thin-film production equipment, focusing on lowering costs, improving tool productivity and increasing module efficiency.
Stion is producing thin-film solar modules with a 65-cm by 165-cm form factor and made using an IC design principle. Stion recently announced it had produced a monolithic thin-film circuit at production scale with a 14.1 percent conversion efficiency verified by the National Renewable Energy Lab.
"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."
At 14% efficiency, it is not bad for a thin-film Solar. I sincerely hope it doesn't become another Solyndra!
@Himanshu_Gupta: I agree, R&D in US and manufacturing in low cost Asian locations is the only way. But the higher capital raised makes me suspect STion is spending a lot on automation, making a case for US manufacturing location.
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