HelioVolt's Factory Lands in Austin


We guess solar thin-film startup HelioVolt was feeling a bit outshined this week with Nanosolar’s big announcement that it was shipping its first panels. The Austin, Texas-based company has revealed plans to build its first manufacturing facility, in the Expo Business Park in its hometown.

Our buddy, Austin Mayor Will Wynn, is happy, calling HelioVolt “something of an Austin hero” in the press release. Wynn told us back in September that the city was working with HelioVolt on an economic incentives package to try to make sure the company’s manufacturing facilities stayed local. “We are spending a lot of time, effort and money in a targeted way to try to grow the clean technology sector here in Austin,” Wynn said then. Looks like it’s working.

HelioVolt says its factory will initially have a production capacity of 20 MW, and will create more than 150 jobs. But the company won’t start shipping its first thin-film solar panels until the end of 2008, a good year from now. Like Nanosolar and Miasole, HelioVolt uses copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) to make its solar panels, which requires a technology many startups have found tricky to move into the production phase.

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