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Posted: February 16, 2010
Innovalight Awarded Key Patent for Solar Cells Manufactured With Silicon Ink
(Nanowerk News) Innovalight, Inc., a privately-held firm selling silicon ink-based high efficiency solar cell materials and technology, today announced that the company has been awarded a key patent for the manufacturing of crystalline wafer solar cells with silicon ink.
Entitled "Methods of forming multi-doped junctions on a substrate," U.S. Patent No. 7,615,393 was issued in record time with a pendency of one year compared to the current average of about three years from filing to issuance. The issued patent covers a novel process for the commercial manufacture of high efficiency selective emitter solar cells with silicon ink.
Innovalight's proprietary nanotechnology-based silicon ink and processing technologies allow crystalline silicon solar cell manufacturers to dramatically boost output capacity and solar cell performance, as well as reduce costs with a simplified additional step to already installed manufacturing lines. The opportunity is significant – crystalline silicon solar cell technology accounts for 77% of the commercial solar panel market today, according to Navigant Consulting, Inc., a leading solar industry research firm.
"This is a great accomplishment for Innovalight, and it's a true success in the DOE's PV Technology Incubator Program," said Martha Symko-Davies, senior program manager at U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). "Innovalight was awarded a subcontract of $3 million through NREL, funded by the DOE in April 2009," she added.
Innovalight recently announced the company raised $18 million in additional capital. This new round of capital will be used to expand the company's proprietary silicon ink production for customers. The series D financing was led by EDB Investments (EDBI) of Singapore. Also joining the investment round were Vertex Venture Holdings, the venture arm of Temasek Holdings, Singapore. All existing investors – Apax Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Convexa Capital, Harris & Harris Group, Sevin Rosen Funds and Triton Ventures participated in the round.
"We are very happy with this patent, both with the breadth of claims and the ability to immediately provide our licensees with a substantial competitive advantage in the marketplace for selective emitter solar cell architectures," said Alex Sousa, Intellectual Property Counsel for Innovalight. "2010 is going to be a landmark year for our company and this is the first of what we expect to be a large portfolio of interlocking patents covering both enabling materials and manufacturing methods for low cost high performance solar cells," he added.
The company has a development roadmap to ultimately bring conversion efficiencies of solar cells to over 20% using its platform for silicon ink and processing technologies. Innovalight already has over 60 patents filed for silicon ink and high efficiency solar cells using silicon ink processes.
Innovalight is based in Sunnyvale, California. The company is developing low-cost, high-performance solar energy technology using proprietary silicon ink nanotechnology. Innovalight is venture capital backed and has received additional development funds from the U.S. Dept. of Energy.