Alion, formerly known as SunPrint, with seed funding from Sequoia Capital (Warren Hogarth and Douglas Leone), is a stealth solar company founded in 2008.
Mark Topinka is listed as a founder on LinkedIn, where his profile claims that the firm is "Working on the world's lowest $/W solar cell. At least we think so." On Facebook, his claim is "With any luck, making solar panels cheaper than anybody else." Topinka has a PhD in physics from Harvard University and a hopeful nature.
Also listed as founders are Chris Rivest and Tom Hunt, who claim to be "developing ultra-low cost thin film PV" on LinkedIn.
Topinka, Hunt and Rivest are listed as authors of the patent titled "Focused Acoustic Printing of Patterned Photovoltaic Materials." Acoustic printing was developed by Xerox for inkjet printers.
Although the patent doesn't specify the PV absorber material, the VP of Manufacturing is Wolfgang Oels, formerly of CdTe aspirant Calyxo and a long-time Q-Cells employee before that. So it's reasonable to assume that the firm is working with the cadmium telluride materials system. Q-Cells sold off Calyxo to a small firm called Solar Fields when it hit bumpy financial terrain in 2009.
Elizabeth Wayman is on the R&D team. She's formerly of SunPower and The Prometheus Institute.
Roman Mostovoy, formerly of KLA-Tencor and Applied Materials, is a Member of the Technical Staff, as is Karen Cruden (formerly of OptiSolar), Adrian Winoto (formerly at Cambrios) and MuhammadEl-Bandrawy (formerly at HelioVolt). Winoto's Cambrios background might help with the Transparent Conductive Oxide work.
The firm has at least 15 employees.
The only firm to reach large-scale production with cadmium telluride is First Solar, followed at a distant second by Abound Solar.
The billion-dollar questions for a VC-funded PV firm with a fundamental technology are: Can the technology scale? Can it be manufactured at an extremely low cost? And where's the $400 million to build a factory going to come from?
We've reached out to the investors and founders but have not received comment.
Tags: abound, abound solar, aboundsolar, alion, cadmium, cadmium indium gallium diselenide, cadmium telluride, cadmium telluride solar panels, cadmium-telluride, cadmium-telluride solar panels, cdte, first solar, fslr, pv, sequoia