News Brief

Nanosolar to Auction Last of Assets

Nanosolar joins the list of failed thin-film solar firms despite $70 million in investment just last year.

Having sold its German manufacturing factory (shown here) to a Swiss investor, Nanosolar will dispose of the remaining machinery and equipment from its San Jose factory through an online auction August 13.

Nanosolar
In its heyday 11 years ago, the thin-film solar startup Nanosolar was valued at $2 billion and attracted investors like Energy Capital Partners and Benchmark Capital. Now, following layoffs and lawsuits, it has sold its assembly factory to an unnamed Swiss investor for an undisclosed amount and will auction assets from its factory in San Jose, California, in August 2013.

The company had been making thin-film photovoltaic (PV) panels by printing copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) ink on a foil only a few nanometers thick, without using high-vacuum manufacturing equipment. The metal-wrap-through process was thought to be promising in reducing the cost and embodied energy of solar photovoltaics, but as the price of silicon-based solar has dropped, the CIGS panels haven’t stayed cost-competitive. Nanosolar reportedly raised $70 million in investment in 2012 but then cut 75% of its staff earlier this year. The company faces at least one lawsuit, as Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has issued a claim for unsettled bills.

The Swiss investor who secured the deal will use Nanosolar’s module manufacturing division, Nanosolar GmbH, located in Luckenwalde, Germany, to make a crystalline silicon panel for utility plants and another PV product for the residential sector—details of which are not being disclosed.

Nanosolar GmbH plans to continue supporting existing customers with exchange modules, technical support, and service, according to the company.

Published July 28, 2013 Permalink

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