Energy conglomerate Total, via its U.S. subsidiary, Total Gas & Power USA (SAS) has made a US$45 million investment in organic thin-film specialist Konarka Technologies, Inc. The investment will result in Total becoming the largest shareholder in the start-up with a stake close to 20%. Previously, Total had made investments in crystalline silicon technology firms such as Photovoltech and Tenesol. The investment in Konarka is Total’s first foray into the fast emerging thin-film market.
“This is a very substantial and significant investment from a major global energy corporation,” commented Howard Berke, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Konarka. “This strategic alignment will give Konarka access to a new strength of resources, assets and operations from around the world. Through the agreements, Konarka will be very instrumental in helping Total to secure its future in solar energy by facilitating the growth of its solar thin film segment of the company’s renewable energy business.”
Konarka said it would also be collaborating on developing new products with Total’s chemical subsidiaries – Atotech, Bostik, Hutchinson, Sartomer and Total Petrochemicals USA. ‘Power Plastic,’ Konarka’s flexible organic photovoltaic (OPV) product, has been touted for use in a wide range of applications that span commercial, industrial, government and the consumer.
Philippe Boisseau, President, Total Gas & Power, stated: “This investment positions Total strategically to secure the future of solar energy while expanding its technological portfolio.”
In October 2007, Konarka received a US$45 million investment from Mackenzie Financial Corporation, Good Energies, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Asenqua Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and 3i. Other investors include Vanguard Ventures, Chevron Ventures, Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, NGEN Partners and Angeleno Group.