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Semprius absorbs $6M for cheaper, printed solar cells

by Camille Ricketts, June 10, 2009

Semprius is one of a few companies focused on thin, printed solar modules — a relatively new technology that could save a tremendous amount of solar cell waste if widely implemented. The modules are considered “printed” because they consist only of a very thin layer of active solar cells stripped off the top of a normal solar wafer. Based in Durham, N.C., the company has raised $6.4 million in a second round of funding to continue developing this design.

Printed solar modules are not only cheaper to make, they also save a lot of expensive material. By stripping layers off larger wafers, the company is able to recycle the rest of the material that goes unused to create even more modules, it says. The modules are usually printed onto a ceramic base for solar applications, but Semprius is also known for working with glass and plastics. With a broader focus on high-performance semiconductors, it also makes chips used in LCD displays and disk drives. The recent funding came from ARCH Venture Partners, Applied Ventures, Illinois Ventures, Intersouth Partners, In-Q-Tel and GVC Investment Fund.