Solexant, a Silicon Valley company that already is operating a pilot manufacturing line producing two megawatts of its thin-film solar cells., has just raised $41.5 million in new funding so it can build a larger facility. Solexant claims a cheaper way to make solar cells – their process involves taking raw semiconductor material and using it to create nanoparticles. Once the nanoparticles are dissolved in a solvent, it creates an ink that can be painted or printed on flexible metal rolls. Using their roll-to-roll manufacturing process, Solexant makes what they call ultra-thin solar panels and they say they can get the cost down to 50 cents per watt, compared to the 85 cents per watt claims made by Solexant competitors like First Solar.
Solexant wants to use the additional money to build a new manufacturing plant in Oregon, with an output of over 100 megawatts of solar panels per year. They say that their process is not specific to the materials used – right now Solexant is using cadmium telluride in their solar cells, but they are actively looking for other materials that are more efficient at making electricity out of sunlight.
via: CNET news