Another solar startup is hitting the big time. This time, it's Xunlight, an Ohio-based company that is producing lightweight, flexible, thin-film solar from amorphous silicon. Amorphous silicon is silicon in its non-cyrstalized form, so it doesn't require the high-expense production of traditional solar panels. However, the record efficiency for this technology (held by Xunlight, actually) is just 10%, compared with 40% for traditional silicon.
But the low costs of the technology will very likely make it competitive in the broadening solar field. Xunlight already has a pilot, roll-to-roll solar cell printer that can produce about 100 KW per year. They'll be using this series-B funding of $22 M to help build a commercial scale plant, and to do more research and development.
Interestingly, Xunlight will actually be using it's R+D money to explore new thin-film technologies, not continue their amorphous silicon work. To accomplish this new work they formed Xunlight 26 Solar, LLC, which will be working on cadmium telluride thin film solar. It seems strange to me for a company to be re-entering research and development just when they decide to go commercial, but I certainly can't complain about folks working on new solutions.
Xunlight is also looking to hire some folks that will help them create panels that can actually be installed on roofs. So it seems like they're satisfied with the commercial viability of their product.
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