HelioVolt

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HelioVolt Corporation
Private
Industry Photovoltaics
Founded 2001
Founder Dr. B.J. Stanbery
Defunct 2014
Headquarters Austin, Texas, United States
Key people
Dr. B.J. Stanbery
Steve Darnell
John Prater
Dr. Peter Hersh
Dr. Bao Sang
Products CIGS solar cells

HelioVolt Corporation was a privately held U.S. solar energy company based in Austin, Texas, that suspended operations in 2014. The company manufactured photovoltaic (PV) solar modules using a thin film semiconductor process based on copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) to produce CIGS solar cells. HelioVolt manufactured these thin film modules for commercial rooftop, utility-scale ground mount, residential, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and custom installations. The company raised over $230 million in investment, including over $80 million by SK Group.[1]

Company[edit]

HelioVolt Corporation was founded in 2001 to develop and commercialize its FASST® process for applying CIGS thin-film photovoltaics directly onto conventional construction materials. The company’s FASST® process, [2] based on semiconductor printing, was invented by HelioVolt founder Dr. Billy J. Stanbery, an expert in the materials science of CIGS and related compound semiconductors.[1] FASST® is a patented manufacturing process for CIGS synthesis.[3]

HelioVolt was producing thin film solar PV modules for commercial rooftop, utility-scale ground mount, residential, BIPV and custom installations. HelioVolt suspended operations in 2014[4] and the contents of the Austin facility were auctioned in January 2015[5]

Investment history[edit]

Large-scale investment in HelioVolt began with $8 million in Series A funding from New Enterprise Associates in 2005. [6] A further $77 million was added in a Series B funding round co-led by Paladin Capital Group and the Masdar Clean Tech Fund in August 2007.[7] The Series B funding round was closed for a total of $101 million in October 2007 with investments from Sequel Venture Partners, Noventi, and Passport Capital. [8] The latest investment will fund factory expansion preparation activities.

Technology[edit]

HelioVolt developed a new way to manufacture thin-film CIGS semiconductor coatings for solar panels, based on research into the fundamental device physics of the CIGS semiconductor material.[9]

Conventional semiconductor processing requires a vacuum process to deposit the semiconductor film on the substrate. The need for vacuum chambers makes this a lengthy batch-oriented production process. HelioVolt developed a nanomaterial-based coating that could be sprayed onto a wide variety of substrates without requiring a vacuum. Non-vacuum or atmospheric deposition processes offer a combination of lower costs, process simplicity and reduced manufacturing times.[2] The company's FASST manufacturing process[10] won a Nanotech Briefs "Nano 50" nanotechnology award in 2006.[11] In 2008, HelioVolt and NREL won an R&D 100 Award for their innovative Thin Film Solar Printing Process,[12] as well as the year's coveted R&D Magazine's Editor’s Choice for Most Revolutionary Technology.[13][14]

HelioVolt produced thin film solar cells that could convert 14 percent of the sunlight that hit them into electricity, and solar modules with conversion efficiencies of above 12 percent, as certified by NREL.[15]

Competitors[edit]

CIGS[edit]

  • Siva Power, a Dept of Energy awarded company that is operating in San Jose, CA.
  • Solar Frontier, based in Japan, is the largest CIGS thin film manufacturer.
  • Global Solar said that its CIGS cells from its factory had reached an average efficiency of 10 percent.[16]
  • Stion produces monolithic CIGS modules at its facilities in San Jose CA and Hattiesburg Mississippi[17]

See also list of CIGS companies for a more complete listing.

Other thin film[edit]

First Solar is by far the world’s largest, vertically integrated thin film solar company. Their thin film modules are based in cadmium telluride (CdTe) materials.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1]. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "test" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b "HelioVolt and NREL extend CRADA to commercialize solar nanotechnology". Nanotechnology.com. 2006-09-12. 
  3. ^ "HelioVolt's Solar Technology Awarded Two Wall Street Journal Innovation Honors". Nano Science and Technology Institute. 2006-09-28. 
  4. ^ "Austin-based solar energy company HelioVolt suspends operations". Austin American Statesman. 
  5. ^ "Assets of HelioVolt's failed solar panel plant in Austin heading to auction". Austin Business Journal. 
  6. ^ "HelioVolt Receives $8 Million Investment from New Enterprise Associates". Solar Headlines. 2005-06-20. 
  7. ^ "HelioVolt Completes $77 Million Series B Funding Round". Venture Capital Reporter. 2007-08-16. Archived from the original on 2008-02-11. 
  8. ^ "HelioVolt raises $101M — biggest solar investment yet?". VentureBeat. 2007-10-21. 
  9. ^ "Nanostructure Discovery by HelioVolt CEO Propels Solar Thin-Film Commercialization". nanotechwire.com. 2005-01-11. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. 
  10. ^ http://www.heliovolt.net//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=46
  11. ^ "Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Award Winners, 2006". Nanotech Briefs. 
  12. ^ "HelioVolt, NREL Win R&D 100 Award for Thin Film Solar Printing Process". Compound Semiconductors Online. 2008-07-24. 
  13. ^ "HelioVolt, NREL Win R&D Magazine Editor's Choice for Most Revolutionary Technology". Compound Semiconductors Online. 2008-10-23. 
  14. ^ "Let the Solar Revolution Begin". Solar Today. 2009-03-01. 
  15. ^ "Rapid reactive transfer printing of CIGS photovoltaics". SPIE. 2009-08-25. 
  16. ^ http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/qa-global-solar-vps-dish-thin-film-details-718.html
  17. ^ http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20027356-54.html"
  18. ^ http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/heliovolt-hits-122-efficiency-885.html

External links[edit]