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12/19/2012 07:15 AM     print story email story  

$25 Million for Thin-Film Solar Startup Stion News

California-based Stion continues to defy the odds of the suffering solar manufacturing sector, by raising another round of equity funding.

The maker of low-cost thin-film solar modules closed a $25 million round to expand production capacity at its Mississippi manufacturing facility.

That's not all - Stion wants to raise another $30 million over the next year, according to its filing with the SEC.

The current round will boost capacity to 140 megawatts a year from the current 100 MW.

Stion expects to invest up to $500 million in the plant over the next six years bringing it to 500 MW of capacity and creating 1,000 solar jobs in the process.

So far, Stion has raised more than $240 million, including a  $130 million equity investment last year from AVACO and Korean private equity funds. That infusion was specifically focused on developing next-generation production equipment to reduce Stion's manufacturing costs and improve module efficiency.

The lead investor in this latest round is Khosla Ventures, and many existing investors are expected to participate. Stion's backers include Taiwan Semiconductor (through VentureTech Allliance), Lightspeed Venture Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, and General Catalyst Partners.

Stion also recently received $2 million through the Department of Energy's SunShot incubator program to help scale production of its high-efficiency CIGS technology.

Stion's ability to attract new money is notable amidst the cutthroat competitive climate for solar manufacturers. It's one of a handful of solar companies that have managed to attract venture capital over the past year or so, while one of its former rivals, Miasole, was sold off this year for a mere $30 million.

Stion isn't immune from those troubles – it recently laid off some engineers and operations employees as a cost-cutting measure.

Here's Stion's website:


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