Nano-Ink Solar Startup Innovalight Ramps Up With $5M

Innovalight, a thin-film solar startup developing photovoltaic silicon ink, has received $5 million in debt financing from Leader Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. The startup looks to be ramping up for production as it previously announced it had raised $5 million in equipment lease financing from ATEL Ventures back in July. Originally founded in Santa Clara, Calif. in 2002, Innovalight has moved its base of operations to its new 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, Calif. but the company’s been mum about when production might start.

Innovalight is developing a silicon nanocrystalline ink, which supposedly will have the advantage of high throughput print manufacturing — but without the lowered efficiency that most CIGS-based solar technologies suffer. The company says its technology “could be as much as 10 times cheaper than current solar cell solutions.”

The market for thin-film solar is going to explode over the next few years. Lux Research estimates 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 and Konarka are both gearing up 1 GW solar printing production. Meanwhile, big electronics players are pushing hard into this sector, and Sharp recently said it aims to corner half of the thin-film solar market.

This new financing pushes Innovalight’s total funding to over $50 million. The company 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.