|Founders||Dr. W.S. Sampath, Al Enzenroth, Kurt Barth|
|Headquarters||Loveland, Colorado, U.S.|
|Key people||Craig Witsoe (CEO)|
Abound Solar was a manufacturer of cadmium telluride modules–a thin-film photovoltaic technology–based in the United States. It owns production facility in Longmont, Colorado. The company was incorporated as AVA Solar in 2007 and was rebranded as Abound Solar in March 2009. In 2010 Abound received a $400 million loan from the U.S. government. In 2012 the company laid off almost half its employees before suspending operations and filing for bankruptcy.
Abound Solar's founders began researching thin-film deposition since the late 1980s. In 1991, W.S. Sampath, a professor at Colorado State University, patented a process for low-cost metal deposition within a vacuum. Along with Al Enzenroth and Kurt Barth, Professor Sampath settled upon cadmium telluride (CdTe) as the ideal photovoltaic material for low-cost solar module production.
By 1998, the team had developed a pilot production process featuring an inline, single-vacuum semiconductor deposition tool. Over the course of the next few years, the team continued to develop and refine the technology with strong support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Science Foundation.
By 2004, the founding team had scaled up the technology glass panels of 16 by 16 inches (410 by 410 mm) in size. Federal funding from NREL and the Solar America Initiative enabled them to prove the viability of the technology. In 2006, AVA Solar, Inc. was formed with private funding from local angel investors to commercialize the technology.
In early 2007, institutional investors discovered the company and the proprietary manufacturing process that had been developed. Abound received a $400 million loan from the U.S. government in 2010.
In 2012 the company laid off almost half its employees. On June 28, 2012, Abound Solar announced it suspended operations and will file for bankruptcy protection. Abound filed for bankruptcy over the summer of 2012.
Abound Solar produced cadmium telluride thin-film solar modules using a proprietary closed-space sublimation technology developed at Colorado State University.
The unique semiconductor deposition technology features in-line deposition of the full semiconductor stack within a single vacuum chamber. A full PV module is created by taking a glass substrate with semiconductor and adding buss bars, back glass and a junction box. Abound’s process is distinguished by fast throughput (under 2 hours) and low capital costs (reportedly less than $1 / watt).
In April 2008, Abound Solar took possession of a Longmont, Colorado-area building previously used by Applied Films. Within weeks preparations were made to renovate the facility and construct the largest thin-film solar module manufacturing facility in the United States.
The company intended to have a full-scale production line with an annual capacity of 65 MW and an eventual capacity of 200 MW of production per year.
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