Solar Cell Manufacturer Sunpreme Closes $50 Million Financing

October 18, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

Sunpreme, a global manufacturer of highly scalable SmartSilicon® solar cells, announced that it closed over $50 million in financing led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group, joining existing investors Silicon-Valley-based Capricorn Investment Group and Beijing-based China Environment Fund III, L.P. managed by Tsing Capital. The capital infusion is being used to construct a state-of-the-art facility in Jiaxing, China, allowing Sunpreme to continue to expand production of its SmartSilicon solar cells by year end.

"Over the past 18 months, Sunpreme has demonstrated for the first time a commercially viable metallurgical Silicon solar cell technology. Our first three US patents for the innovative device structure have been granted and we are now moving to scale production of the SmartSilicon cells in the new Jiaxing facility, near Shanghai, with world-class environmental and social management systems fully supported by the local Government," said Ashok K. Sinha, Sunpreme Chairman & CEO and former Senior VP responsible for Applied Materials Silicon Products Business. "With continued support from our new and existing investors, we are in a position to achieve a global footprint beyond the US, Europe and China," he added.

Sunpreme’s SmartSilicon is a disruptive solar cell technology that delivers high-efficiency solar photovoltaic panels at lower costs. Using Sunpreme’s patented technology on largely industry standard production equipment, the company’s cost-effective manufacturing process provides utility-scale and distributed power generation customers with a reliable, high-performance and affordable solar solution.

The company’s low energy-intensity and low environmental impact process does not utilize toxic or rare materials, and thus avoids the unwelcome paradox of exporting clean technology globally while polluting the environment locally.

Sunpreme’s latest commercial effort represents a meaningful and replicable transfer of solar technologies to key emerging markets such as Latin America, Africa, China and India. By commercializing a technology innovation that focuses on reducing cost per Watt at the module level, and supplying modules to the large and distributed power plant manufacturers, this project is a step forward toward making clean efficient energy available to all.

"We are cognizant of the current dynamics in the solar industry, which include rapidly declining prices and an oversupply in capacity. We believe Sunpreme is strongly positioned to leverage its technology and cost leadership to win in this challenging marketplace," said Dipender Saluja, Partner, Capricorn Investment Group, which led the initial funding round and is Sunpreme’s largest investor. "Capricorn’s follow-on reinvestment is a testimonial to our confidence in Sunpreme’s strong leadership team, management acumen and market vision," he added.