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Innovalight Nabs $5M for Thin-Film Solar

Innovalight, a thin-film solar startup developing photovoltaic silicon ink, has received $5 million in equipment lease financing from ATEL Ventures. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup has a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., and this financing could help the company move into production. (Rumors put a start date as early as 2009.)

Innovalight is developing a silicon nanocrystalline ink, which supposedly will have the advantage of high throughput print manufacturing — without the lowered efficiency CIGS-based solar technologies suffer.
The company says its technology “could be as much as ten times cheaper than current solar cell solutions.”

The market for thin-film solar is going to explode over the next few years. Last week Lux Research estimated that thin-film solar will grab 28 percent of the solar market by 2012. While this seems like a big jump for such a new technology, the sector is moving forward quickly as more startups like Innovalight put their funds into production. Nanosolar recently clicked on its 1 GW solar printer and Global Solar says it has the world’s largest thin-film solar production plant with a capacity of 40 MW a year.

Founded in 2002, Innovalight raised $28 million in series C funding last year led by Convexa Capital, and including Scatec AS, Apax Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Harris Group, Sevin Rosen Funds and Triton Ventures. Previously, the startup had raised $14 million in series A and B funding. This newest financing pushes the startup’s funds up close to $50 million.