Konica Minolta Invests US $20M in Konarka

Konarka Technologies Inc. has signed a comprehensive R&D collaboration and strategic investment agreement with Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. The companies reached agreement to start full-scale collaboration in April in the joint development and distribution of organic thin-film photovoltaics. Under the agreement, Konica Minolta has invested $20 million in Konarka.

“Konica Minolta positions the organic thin-film photovoltaic business as one of the most promising in the environment and energy field, next to the organic light emitting diode (OLED) business, where our photographic film manufacturing technology is leading mass production,” said Masatoshi Matsuzaki, CEO at Konica Minolta.

The companies will organize respective strengths in materials, optical and coating technologies as well as joint development, aiming to improve organic thin-film photovoltaic performance including higher conversion efficiency, longer life and lower manufacturing costs, to realize mass production of next-generation photovoltaics.

Currently, Konarka’s roll-to-roll process simplifies manufacturing scale-up, has lower capital and labor costs than previous generations of solar cells and can be produced using existing coating and printing equipment, the company said.

Upon successful results of the joint development milestones, the companies are expected to establish a joint venture company in Japan to produce organic thin-film photovoltaic panels. Konica Minolta will be Konarka’s lead Asian business partner headquartered in Japan.

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