PV silicon firm nails down $27M funding

May 9, 2007 – Solar PV silicon startup Solaicx says it has closed a Series C round of funding totaling $27.1 million, led by the D.E. Shaw group, with participation from several VC firms as well as an increased investment from Applied Materials’ VC arm.

Last fall Applied said its Applied Ventures LLC unit had invested about $3.5 million for convertible notes of Solaicx, which planned to use the extra funds to open a second manufacturing site in the US in 2007. A spokesperson for the startup indicated that AMAT’s $3.5M investment was rolled over into the Series C round with “a little bit more” investment on top of that, though she declined to provide a specific amount.

Solaicx claims its products utilize a proprietary continuous Czochralski (CZ) crystal growing methodology that are up to 5x more effective for growing single-crystal silicon than traditional CZ systems designed primarily for use in semiconductor manufacturing. The company also says it offers “streamlined ingot production techniques” and up to 30% higher efficiencies in polysilicon feedstock usage.”

“Since we invested in the company last fall, Solaicx has made great strides with its unique manufacturing technology. This technology will benefit the photovoltaic industry as it ramps up to meet growing demand,” said
J. Christopher Moran, VP and GM of Applied Ventures, in a statement.

In July, AMAT completed its $464 million acquisition of Applied Films Corp., a supplier of thin-film deposition equipment used in manufacturing flat-panel displays, solar cells, flexible electronics and energy-efficient glass. The company also has restructured its operations to break out a new business encompassing solar and other high-growth activities. In AMAT’s fiscal 4Q06 (ended in October), this Adjacent Technologies segment posted revenues of $20 million.


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