Monday, July 11, 2005

BRC 15: Venture Capital Getting Behind Nanotech Solar

In the last few months, I've posted a couple of times about develoments in the use of nanotechnology to create thinner, more flexible solar panels. Now the San Francisco Chronicle (via Tidepool) is reporting that the venture capitalists have arrived and are investing heavily in this still-experimental technology:
Nanosys and Nanosolar in Palo Alto -- along with Konarka in Lowell, Mass. -- say their research will result in thin rolls of highly efficient light-collecting plastics spread across rooftops or built into building materials....

Despite the lack of commercial product availability, Konarka, Nanosolar and Nanosys have collectively raised more than $120 million since 2001, the year all three companies were founded.

Recent investments include $7 million in debt financing for Konarka in June, making its total funding to date $38.5 million. Nanosolar recently announced more financial support in a Series B round of funding that secured $20 million in May. With previous investments of $7.25 million, it has secured a total of $27.25 million.
While focusing on the infusion of capital, this article also provides a thorough overview of the research solar nanotechnology, noting both it's promises as well as the challenges researchers currently face. You won't see nanotech solar panels at the Home Depot anytime soon, but it's good to see the investor class betting on solar power developments for the long term.

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