Alta Devices, a next-generation thin-film PV start-up, has raised US$72 million in funding , which will go towards the commercialization of the company’s products as well as focusing on new technology that will improve production economics of high efficiency solar PV. Returning investors include August Capital, Perkins Caufield and Byers, Crosslink Capital, DAG Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Presidio Ventures Technology Partners and Dow Chemical.
“There are a number of advanced materials that could demonstrate higher solar conversion efficiency than silicon,” said Christopher Norris, Alta’s CEO. “To date, the challenge of these materials is that they have been expensive to produce and difficult to implement. Therefore, they are not currently an economic solution for addressing the world’s energy needs. We are working to solve this problem by leveraging new approaches in several disciplines.”
Explaining the company’s progress in the lab, Norris commented, “We have a team of technologists working on issues ranging from efficient use of raw materials, better manufacturing processes, and new ways to optimize the conversion efficiency of these materials for energy applications.”
According to Bill Joy, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers partner and Alta board member, Alta’s ‘epitaxial lift off’ process has seen positive results in tests so far. “This is a technique that will enable efficient use of very thin layers of gallium arsenide for solar PV applications…” commented Joy.
New investors for the funding round included Alberta Investment Management (AIMCo), Good Energies, Energy Technology Ventures and Constellation Energy. Additionally, Jagdeep Singh Bachher, COO of new investor AIMCo, will be joining Alta’s board.
(For more on Alta Devices semi-emergence from stealth mode, check PV-Tech's Chip Shots blog here.)