Miasolé is a solar energy company developing photovoltaic cells based on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) semiconductor.
It has raised over $100 million in investment and government grants. The company is based in Santa Clara, California.
Miasole was founded by veterans of the hard disk industry who leveraged their expertise in hard disk manufacturing to introduce new manufacturing processes into the thin film solar industry. In December 2006, the company's CEO announced that 50MW of manufacturing capacity as well as an IPO is imminent but the company failed to deliver on the milestone. In September 2007, semiconductor equipment executive Joseph Laia was brought in as CEO to move the company to volume production. The company has 40 MW of production capacity at its Santa Clara facility, and claims that as of May 2008 it was making modules at 9% to 10% efficiencies on those production tools. NREL has since independently verified two 10% Miasole CIGS modules. At this time, none of the company's founders is with the company any longer.
Miasolé raised $16 million in venture capital investment in June 2005, in a round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,
and raised a further $35 million in October 2006.
The company raised $50 million in a fourth round of financing in September 2007, bringing its total financing to $100 million.
Besides Kleiner Perkins, investors include Vantage Point Venture Partners, Garage Techology Ventures and Firelake Capital Management In July 2008, the company was rumored to be raising an additional $200M.
In September 2007, Miasole's board of directors fired the company's CEO, and the company's management team has been in turmoil ever since, with a stream of senior directors and vice presidents leaving the company.
Miasolé is developing solar panels
based on thin film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS)
is among the most efficient solar cell
materials, but manufacturing it in volume has been a problem.
Miasolé is developing a new production process drawing on its executives’ experience in the hard disk
and semiconductor industries.
The process, called "sputtering
", deposits a thin film of material onto a surface in a vacuum. Sputtering is process used in volume thin film production, and is used by high volume manufacturing companies in the disk drive and architectural glass industries. Miasole claims to be using a continuous, roll to roll process to deposit all layers of the CIGS solar cell on a lightweight stainless steel substrate.