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Hybrid Solar Cell Hits High Efficiency

• http://www.technologyreview.com, Martin LaMonica
 Startup Silevo has begun producing its efficient solar cells using commercial equipment, a key step toward commercializing a novel type of solar cell at large scale.

The Fremont, California-based company today announced that its factory in Hangzhou, China next month will be producing at a rate of 32 megawatts per year. Having manufactured at that scale, Silevo now intends to raise private equity to build a 230-megawatt factory next year, says Chris Beitel, Silevo’s vice president of marketing and business development.

The company, which operates in the same city where failed solar company Solyndra was based, remains a survivor in the very challenging solar industry where even sophisticated and well capitalized manufacturers are struggling financially. (See, Once-Mighty Suntech Struggles to Survive and The Dog Days of Solar).

Silevo was able to produce cells that convert 21 percent of sunlight to electrical energy, which is at the high end of commercial solar panels now on the market. “We’ve been able to successfully transition from research and development production (in California) to production-based equipment with high throughput,” says Beitel.

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