California-based Stion, which produces low cost thin-film solar modules, has pulled in a $130 million equity investment, bringing its total to $236 million raised.
AVACO and Korean private equity funds led the round, and existing investors also participated: Khosla Ventures, Taiwan Semiconductor (through VentureTech Alliance), Lightspeed Venture Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, and General Catalyst Partners.
Stion is expanding its US manufacturing facility in Mississippi, which has been luring green manufacturing plants. It plans to expand the plant, which recently began production, to 500 MW over the next six years, creating 1000 solar jobs. Stion will also soon launch "Stion Korea," a new subsidiary which will build a factory there to serve the Asian and European markets.
Lead investor AVACO makes solar thin-film processing equipment, and will work with Stion to develop next generation production equipment, focusing on lowering costs, improving tool productivity and increasing module efficiency.
Stion joins a handful of solar companies that have managed to raise significant equity rounds recently even in the face of the GOP attack on Solyndra.
Although solar has been the strongest segment for investors for years, including Q1 2011, investments have slid since the Solyndra fiasco, with many investors seeking softer deals, becoming wary of investing in high risk, capital intensive renewable energy start-ups.