Investing in solar efficiency

Low Carbon Accelerator has invested a further £320,000 in Imperial College spinout QuantaSol after the company’s solar cells demonstrated consistently high levels of effiency.

London-based LCA invested £480,000 in June 2007 as part of an overall £1.35m seed funding round which also included investment from Imperial Innovations, Numis Securities, Netscientific, and Sheffield University Enterprise. Low Carbon Accelerator and Imperial Innovations were co-lead equity investors.

QuantaSol will provide solar photovoltaic (PV) cells for use in concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems for the fast growing utility-scale solar power generation market. Quantasol used the original funds to produce prototypes of its Quantum Well Photovoltaic (QWPV) cells and to engage with potential customers for such cells and will use the additional funds to continue their product development.

Currently, the world efficiency record for single junction cells, held by the US company Varian, stands at 27.8 percent and has been unequalled for 20 years. Quantasol’s cells are said to be consistently recording efficiency levels of 27.5 per cent,.

Kevin Arthur, CEO of Quantasol, said: ‘The world record for solar efficiency was a real one-off and our results consistently come very close to equalling that. With the new round of funding in place we are confident of setting a new efficiency record for single junction cells during 2008. The Quantum Wells also make it possible to enhance the efficiency of multi-junction cells and, during 2008, QuantaSol also aims to set a record 35 per cent tandem cell efficiency.’

Dr Stephen Mahon, chief investment officer at Low Carbon Initiative, LCA’s investment manager, said: ‘We are very pleased with the progress that QuantaSol has made since our initial investment, exceeding the milestones which we set. The market for CPV is enormous, and, if they can show their cells are the world’s most efficient, QuantaSol looks poised to take full advantage of it.’