Konarka Opens World’s Largest Roll-to-Roll Flexible Thin Film Solar Manufacturing Facility

Konarka

Konarka Technologies, Inc., a Lowell, Massachusetts-based developer and manufacturer of solar plastic films, recently announced that it opened the largest roll-to-roll flexible thin film solar manufacturing facility in the world.  The facility is in a 250,000 square foot building in New Bedford, Massachusetts that was previously used by Polaroid Corporation. The following video provides a brief overview of the company:

"This facility has state-of-the-art printing capabilities that are ready for full operation, with the future potential to produce over a gigawatt of flexible plastic solar modules per year," commented Howard Berke, executive chairman and co-founder of Konarka. "Our technical leadership and innovation in flexible thin film solar, along with this facility’s capabilities of producing in excess of 10 million square meters of material per year, will allow us to produce Power Plastic for indoor, portable, outdoor and building integrated applications."

"Since 2001, Konarka has taken revolutionary lab discoveries from its founding scientists to pilot production for initial customers and now to full-scale manufacturing with the near future capacity of one gigawatt per year, which could contribute to the power and electricity needs of our nation and the avoidance of CO2 emissions," said Rick Hess, president and CEO at Konarka. "As one of the original recipients of the Solar American Initiative (SAI) awards in 2007, Konarka is furthering the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) vision to reach its goal of making solar electricity from photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity."

"With our nationally recognized technology expertise and resources, Massachusetts is becoming a global center for alternative and renewable energy, and Konarka is helping to solidify our commitment to a clean energy future and ongoing economic development and job growth in the Commonwealth," said, Daniel O’Connell, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.

Scott W. Lang, Mayor of New Bedford, added, "We are excited that Konarka is bringing new jobs to help further drive the economy and interest in the city of New Bedford, and we are proud that our city is home once again to an industry leading manufacturing plant."

Konarka has obtained more than $100 million from venture capital and private equity funds thusfar, including 3i Group, Chevron, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Good Energies, Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, Mackenzie Financial, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Asenqua Ventures.  The company has also received $18 million in government agency research grants from the U.S. and Europe.

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Wakonda Technologies Raises $9.5 Million in Series A Funding

Wakonda Technologies

Wakonda Technologies, a company that is developing an inexpensive, patent-pending material that enables the production of high performance solar cells, announced on July 16th that it raised a $9.5 million round of series A venture capital financing from (Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV), General Catalyst Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, Applied Ventures (the venture capital arm of Applied Materials) and the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund.

"We are actively working to reduce the cost of solar systems to make solar energy competitive with conventional electric power," said Wakonda Founder and CEO Les Fritzemeier. "We’re delighted to have the support of this top-tier group of investors to help us accomplish this goal. Their experience and track records give us additional confidence that we will achieve our commercial market objectives."

The company has been developing its technology in conjunction with the Rochester Institute of Technology, where Wakonda Co-founder and CTO Ryne Raffaelle leads the NanoPower Research Lab, and with Cornell University and the NASA Glenn Research Center.  In 2007 Wakonda was selected as the Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year at the 20th Industry Growth Forum sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  A copy of Wakonda’s presentation from this event is available below (click on image to access).

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Greentech Media Receives $2.75 Million in Series B Financing

Greentech Media

Greentech Media, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based online media company, announced on Tuesday that it raised $2.75 million in Series B financing. This round was co-led by new investors EGORA Holding and The Massachusetts Green Energy Fund. Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Northport Private Equity also participated, along with new investor King Hill Capital.  Greentech Media previously raised a $1 million series A round in May, 2007.

Greentech Media said that it will use the new funds to expand its staff, news coverage, products, and sales efforts.  In conjunction with this funding news and its growth strategy, Greentech Media also announced the hiring of former CNET editor Michael Kanellos as senior analyst.

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