In their quest to create the next First Solar, VC investors are making enormous bets on new solar technologies, including the difficult Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) materials system.
I've just learned from a very reliable investor source that AVA Solar, a CdTe photovoltaics manufacturer in Colorado, has received a term sheet for a $100 million round at a $750 million pre-money valuation, with $50 million of that round coming from DCM. A contact at AVA Solar declined to comment. Valuations in these stratospheric ranges are becoming the norm for solar startups with very high expectations and very low revenues such as Solyndra, Nanosolar and Miasolé.
My source's investment firm chose not to invest in AVA as the valuation was too rich for their blood. Another VC told Greentech Media's Mike Kanellos that AVA Solar was a tough call, calling it somewhat of a copycat of First Solar and asserting that AVA's success depends on execution while First Solar has shown time and time again that it is great at executing and manufacturing. First Solar looks to shortly enter the realm of Gigawatt capacity solar suppliers, joining a group of four or five vendors expecting to reach that volume by 2010.
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