Nanosolar raises $70M for thin film solar

Thin film solar company Nanosolar announced on Friday that it has raised $70 million, a round which includes the previously announced $20 million. Overall Nanosolar has taken in at least $450 million since its start in 2002.

Investors in this latest round include OnPoint Technologies, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Ohana Holdings, and Family Offices. Nanosolar says the funds will be used to expand production.

The move highlights that some investors are still willing to support these thin film solar companies that have taken a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars to move into commercial production. Even in the wake of Solyndra, these investors are still willing to pony up funds, because they either believe in the company, or they are looking to protect their previous investment.

Nanosolar, like the other thin film solar companies, has had its ups and downs over the years. Though, Nanosolar in particular has built a reputation for not delivering on its promises. Part of that came from its co-founder Martin Roscheisen, who said the company began commercial production of solar panels in December 2007. Then Nanosolar announced in Sept. 2009 that it was only entering mass production then.

Earlier this year the company promoted Eugenia Corrales from the head of engineering and operations to CEO. Nanosolar’s solar shipments went from zero to 10 MW during the year and a half when Corrales was turning the company into a commercial-scale manufacturer while she was heading its engineering and operations. Shipping 10 MW is a “personal best” for Nanosolar, but also shows Nanosolar is falling behind some of its fellow CIGS solar manufacturers. MiaSole said it shipped 60 MW in 2011, and Solar Frontier has a new 900 MW factory and is shipping at much greater volumes.