Konarka Honored for PV Technology

October has been a good month for Konarka Technologies, a small company developing advanced solar power technology.

Albany, New York – November 1, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The company has won the first National Clean Energy Venture Competition at the 15th National Renewable Energy Laboratory Industry Growth Forum. Earlier this month Konarka announced completion of a US$13.5 million round of funding. Konarka Technologies, Inc., based in Lowell, Massachusetts, beat out 45 other competitors to take the top prize of US$7,000 cash plus incubation services valued at more than US$3,000. Winners were announced Wednesday by Bechtel Corporation, founding sponsor of the competition. Outstanding Presentation Awards of US$1,000 each were given to Starfire Systems, The Wind Turbine Company and HelioVolt Corporation. Participants in the competition were selected from hundreds of applicants to present their business plans to energy executives and other potential investors. Konarka is commercializing polymer-based photovoltaic cells that can be manufactured cheaply in large sheets that can be cut in any size. The company is targeting markets ranging from portable electronics to distributed power and rural electrification. “It’s an honor to be the first company to receive this award from Bechtel and be selected by such a distinguished panel of investors,” said Konarka Chief Operating Officer Paul Wormser. “This shows that Konarka has a compelling value proposition for investors – the plan, the technology, and the team to make it happen.” Starfire Systems, based in Malta, New York, produces and develops polymers for the manufacture of high-temperature, high-performance silicon carbide ceramics. Starfire materials have been used in NASA manned spacecraft and aircraft brake rotors and is being developed for energy, emissions control applications, and semiconductor products. “Our technology is especially exciting and promising because of its versatility and far-reaching potential benefits to a number of industries important to the U.S. economy and our environment, including energy, pollution control, transportation, aerospace and national security,” said Richard Saburro, Starfire’s chief executive officer. The Wind Turbine Company, of Bell, Washington, developed new, cost-efficient wind turbine technology under contracts from the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission. WTC plans to demonstrate its new turbine in a 15 to 20 MW wind project next year. HelioVolt Corporation is an Austin, Texas-based startup developing and commercializing a process for manufacturing thin-film solar power modules based on proven semiconductor technology. HelioVolt’s proprietary FLASH process dramatically reduces the time required to make highly-efficient thin-film solar power modules. Bechtel provided US$10,000 to launch this annual award in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Albany NanoTech Center and Rensselaer Incubator Program. “Bechtel developed this competition to promote the success of clean-energy entrepreneurs and bring more technology options into the mainstream energy market,” said Linda Trocki, principal vice president and manager of Bechtel’s technology development and R&D functions. “We’re excited about this competition and hope to attract more partners to expand the award next year.“
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