Solexant Corporation, developer of third-generation ultrathin-film PV technology, on July 20 announced the selection of the city of Gresham, Ore., for the location of its first commercial-scale nanocrystal manufacturing facility. Upon completion, the 100-megawatt plant will be Oregon’s first thin film solar manufacturing plant and the largest nanotechnology manufacturing facility in the world. Solexant expects to receive a $25 million SELP loan from the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), the largest loan bestowed in the 30-year history of the state energy loan program.
“We are pleased to welcome Solexant to Oregon, North America’s leading solar manufacturing center,” said Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. “This investment will mean jobs immediately for Oregonians with the promise of more in the future. In addition, this company brings a new technological facet to Oregon’s already booming solar manufacturing base and will help us continue to be a global leader in solar manufacturing.”
Along with an $18.75 million Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) from ODOE, a $25 million loan from the State of Oregon Energy Loan Program and the $64 million in equity funding Solexant has raised to date, the company will have adequate funds to bring the nanotechnology-based thin film solar plant to full capacity. The factory will initially be housed in an existing 100,000 to 150,000 sq foot facility in Gresham with plans to construct the new manufacturing line in 2011.
The City of Gresham has also provided a robust incentive package partnering with the solar manufacturing plant, which will employ as many as 200 Oregonians (97 confirmed local employees in the BETC agreement). The company expects to build additional 100MW lines in Gresham after the first line becomes operational.
“Solexant’s decision to come to Gresham proves that our city is well positioned and competitive, even in this challenging economy,” Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis said. “By building a close relationship with the company throughout the process, we have been able to show them the advantages of bringing major investment and jobs to Gresham.”
Solexant’s breakthrough technology and award-winning manufacturing method allow for more efficient use of equipment space, as well as higher throughput and lower labor costs than competing thin film companies, to produce thin film modules with an installed cost structure that will challenge the current industry norm. Originally developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) by Dr. Paul Alivisatos and his team, Solexant’s printable nanocrystal technology platform can produce flexible thin film solar cells using a variety of materials through a fast and simple printing process using its nanocrystal inks. For its initial commercial offering, the company will produce the industry’s first nanocrystal ultrathin-film solar cell using its proprietary roll-to-roll manufacturing process to print CdTe nanocrystals on a flexible substrate.
“Solexant greatly appreciates its partnerships with the State of Oregon, the Oregon Department of Energy and the City of Gresham to facilitate the construction of the world’s largest nanotechnology-based thin film manufacturing facility in this beautiful, business-friendly state,” said Damoder Reddy, CEO of Solexant. “As Oregon’s first thin film solar manufacturing plant, the Gresham facility will prove the commercial application of our nanocrystal ultrathin-film solar cell technology in a very capital-efficient way and solidify Solexant’s place as a leader in the solar industry.”
Last month, Solexant announced the $41.5M first close of a Series C financing round following the successful completion of a 2MW pilot line operating at the company’s headquarters in San Jose, CA. Solexant and LBNL have received numerous technology and manufacturing awards for nanocrystal solar cells, including the prestigious R&D 100 Award in 2009. The Solexant executive team has more than 100 years of combined experience in finance, manufacturing and R&D, and it also includes renowned nanoparticle scientists and deeply experienced thin film solar cell engineers.
About Solexant Corporation
Based in San Jose, Calif., Solexant Corporation produces the first ultrathin-film solar cell that incorporates high-performance, inorganic nanocrystals on flexible substrates. The technology platform – originally developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab – can utilize currently available and emerging high-efficiency materials to dramatically reduce manufacturing costs through solution-processing and roll-to-roll manufacturing.