As the American solar industry stumbles along with highs and lows, a Silicon Valley start-up has hit what looks to be a multi-year jackpot. And it did it by looking abroad.
Innovalight, tucked away in Sunnyvale (you probably pass it on your way to check out gadgets at Fry's), makes something called silicon ink. When added to solar panel production, this ink makes the panels more efficient, and therefore more profitable. That last part is what has thus far been eluding most solar companies, so Innovalight is onto something.
Now, a Chinese solar giant is onto Innovalight. JA Solar, based in Shanghai (trading here in the US under the ticker symbol JASO), just signed a 3-year deal with Innovalight to boost its panels with silicon ink. With the initial rush to solar cooling considerably in most countries, a deal like this (to make JA's panels more efficient and money-making) is undoubtedly welcomed with open arms.
And open wallets. Says JA Solar CEO Dr. Peng Fang, "we are very excited about the strong partnership with Innovalight." From Innovalight Chief Executive Conrad Burke, "I am delighted with the long-tern agreement .. to jointly develop new products."
Long-term? New products? Not words heard all that much recently from the Solar sector. Here's a new deal that could turn a start-up into a regular player.
Scott loves start-up stories. You can find him on Twitter: @scottbudman