8 March 2012
CIGS PV firm MiaSolé raises a further $55m from VC investors
MiaSolé of Santa Clara, CA, USA, which was founded in 2001 to make copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic panels, has raised $55m in funding from existing investors, which include VantagePoint Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bessemer Venture Partners, Firelake Capital Management and Passport Capital.
“This funding comes at a time when the company has begun production of 14% modules with the industry's lowest capex per watt, which is now under 50 cents [better than that of cadmium telluride thin-film panel maker First Solar as well as crystalline silicon panel makers],” claims CEO John Carrington (formerly executive VP of global marketing & business development at First Solar until last November). MiaSolé has increased its panel efficiency by more than 30% from 2011 to 2012. “MiaSolé’s ability to deliver 14% in production with demonstrated capability to achieve 17% [from a champion cell, announced in early February] further emphasizes the progress we are continuously making against our roadmap,” he adds.
During 2011, MiaSolé’s scaled up the annual production capacity of its existing factory from 50MW to 150MW. To date, the firm has installed more than 55MW of modules in projects across North America, Europe and Asia. “This additional investment will allow us to take the company to the next level, and we are focused on aggressively building the commercial side of our business with both our traditional glass-on-glass and flexible products.” he adds. “We are now focused on commercial performance: our investors have responded to that.” MiaSolé says that its unique technology is also being applied to a high-efficiency flexible rolled roof-top product that will address the fast-growing commercial and residential markets.
“MiaSolé is entering into an important time in its history,” says Stephan Dolezalek, managing director at Vantage Point Capital Partners. "It has the right strategy, the right technology and the right team to deliver a new benchmark in solar for cost, performance and capital efficiency, with the enormous benefit of being able to compete in both the traditional glass and flexible panel markets,” he adds.
MiaSolé has raised about $400-500m in venture capital funding since 2004. While the latest $55m funding will allow it to keep improving its technology and executing on its efficiency roadmap to cut cost per Watt (as well as selling and shipping its existing manufacturing capacity), the firm is said to need $100-300m to scale up its production and expand sales globally. Last December Carrington hence declared the aim to seek one or more strategic partners that would fund MiaSolé’s further expansion of production as well as marketing and sales.