Stion is having a CIGS solar panel sale.
The VC- and strategic-funded CIGS solar firm sent out an email blast offering solar modules "for as low as $.75 per watt." Neither the email nor a a subsequently contacted representative of the company disclosed the volumes available or the terms of the offer for modules at that price. Aaron Thurlow, Stion VP of West Coast Sales, did say that these were fully UL-compliant modules shipping from Stion's Hattiesburg, Mississippi factory.
As GTM Research Solar Analyst MJ Shiao has discussed in his recent thin film market analysis, thin film vendors have a small window of opportunity to be competitive -- but the firms have to get their factories running at capacity to realize the cost promise of the technology. And having this type of sale is one way to get it done.
In December of last year, in the largest photovoltaic funding round of 2011, San Jose, California-based Stion raised $130 million in private equity, led by AVACO and Korean private equity funds. The firms's existing investors -- Khosla Ventures, Taiwan Semiconductor, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures and General Catalyst Partners -- also participated in the funding round. The firm is expanding manufacturing capacity in its Hattiesburg, Mississippi facility, as well as opening a Korean manufacturing subsidiary.
Lead investor in this round AVACO is a supplier of thin film processing equipment.
Stion's module are monolithically produced on glass, and the firm has achieved 14 percent efficiencies in early production. The firm has a tandem design in the works and has licensed its technology to Taiwanese foundry TSMC.
In an earlier interview, Chet Farris, the CEO, had claimed:
- The company's CIGS-based product will offer "silicon efficiency at thin film costs."
- Stion has demonstrated 14.1 percent efficiency on full-size panels with its single-junction product.
- Stion is currently producing 2-foot-by-5-foot panels at 120 watts to 130 watts for all solar sectors.
- The firm has a roadmap to 15 percent efficiency.
- Farris also claimed that Stion can get to market in "half the time and with one-tenth the money."
Thurlow told GTM that Stion is ramping a 100-megawatt line in its 500-megawatt factory and modules with efficiencies of between 11.5 percent and 12 percent are now shipping, with 13 percent targeted for the end of the year.