In the largest photovoltaic funding round of 2011, San Jose, California-based Stion, a manufacturer of CIGS-based thin film modules, raised $130 million in private equity led by AVACO and Korean private equity funds, according to an article in peHub this morning. 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 company said. The firm is expanding manufacturing facility 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 and is sold out of short-term capacity.
  • Farris also claimed that Stion can get to market in "half the time and with one-tenth the money."