Sulfurcell Secures €18.8m Funding For CIGSe Market Expansion
Intel Capital has rounded up a number of investors to promote the firm’s thin-film technology for solar modules targeted at the BIPV, solar construction and commercial rooftop sectors.
Sulfurcell, a leader in CIGS/CIGSe type thin-film solar modules, has secured € 18.8m (US $ 25m) in equity funding for the expansion and market introduction of its second generation thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technology.
CIGSe materials provide a promising new technology for PV modules which can deliver the same performance as conventional modules at half the cost. Since producing and shipping its first modules to customers in 2005, Sulfurcell has successfully commercialized on a mass scale, ramping-up its 35 MW facility fabrication. The firm has developed unique, comprehensive solutions for the BIPV, solar construction and commercial rooftop sectors.
The funding comes on the heels of Sulfurcell’s recent accomplishment of manufacturing full scale thin-film modules with 12.6 % efficiency. The firm’s realization of the high-efficiency potential of CIGSe-type modules in an industrial production environment confirms the company’s position as one of the leading companies in CIGS/CIGSe technology.
Sulfurcell’s investors have funded the acquisition of additional CIGSe equipment and ongoing R&D work targeting 14% efficiency within the next 12 to 18 months.
The financing round was led by Intel Capital, the global investment arm of Intel Corporation. Intel was joined by a group of leading European and US clean tech investors who invested € 85m equity funding to Sulfurcell in July 2008. These were Climate Change Capital Private Equity (London), Bankinvest Group (Copenhagen), Zouk Ventures (London), Masdar Clean Tech Investments (New York) and Demeter (Paris).
In addition, Sulfurcell’s long-term investors who supported the company since the first financing round in 2002 contributed substantially and were led by Vattenfall Europe (Berlin) and GdF Suez (Berlin/Paris). These investors were joined by Ventegis Capital AG, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft and others.
Nikolaus Meyer, CEO of Sulfurcell, said: “The financing is the result of our great progress in 2010 in which we developed an industrial manufacturing process delivering thin-film modules with efficiencies over 12%, while also ramping up our brand new 35 MW production plant and fully automated manufacturing facility. This additional funding from our existing investors is a vote of confidence that will allow us to accelerate our technological progress and to solidify Sulfurcell’s position as a global leader in CIGS/CIGSe technology."
“In the last 5 years, Sulfurcell has become an important provider of solutions for solar construction and building-integrated photovoltaics," said Heiko von Dewitz, Investment Director at Intel Capital which initially invested in 2008. “The investment will allow Sulfurcell to continue the successful development of its leading edge CIGSe technology. The company’s efforts align well with Intel’s focus on investing in the design, development and delivery of new technologies to address sustainability challenges."
In 2001, Sulfurcell was founded as a spin-off from the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy, previously known as the Hahn-Meitner Institute. The company’s 250 employees develop, manufacture and sell both Sulfur-based CIGS and Selenium-based CIGSe modules and products.