Further details of Bright Point solar cell business plans and the next $30 Million funding round emerge
Blue Square Energy (BSE) President and CEO Jeff Barnett delivered a capable and informed presentation regarding BSE’s plans and solicitation of venture capital for continued expansion on Wednesday, October 23, 2007, at the Dow Jones VentureWire Alternative Energy Innovations 2007 conference in Redwood City, California.
As mentioned in Blue Square Energy sets the impurity enriched solar cell record straight, BSE was founded in 2004 and generated a profit from recycling semiconductor silicon wafers into solar cells by 2005.
With Bright Point silicon solar cell technology, BSE expects to reach $1.22 per Watt module cost by 2010. BSE claims to have the lowest cost of capital per Watt based on a proprietary production equipment toolset. In fact, Mr. Barnett said Bright Point achieves crystalline silicon efficiency at comparable cost to thin film solar technologies.
Bright Point achieves this lofty goal by depositing a 10um (micrometer) active layer of Solar Grade Silicon on a 4N (four nines) 99.99% pure “boron rich” 200um Bright Point Upgraded Metallurgical Silicon (UMG) substrate. Longer term, Mr. Barnett said the UMG silicon would cost $10 per kilogram (kg) although costing perhaps as much as $25 per kg in 2008. BSE has already received commercial size samples of the boron rich UMG material for qualification. The Solar Grade Silicon layer is supposed to cost a mere $0.01 per Watt per BSE estimates.
BSE expects to deliver Bright Point solar cells with 13-14% efficiency in the second quarter of 2008. Thus far, BSE has obtained 12.3% laboratory efficiency and commercial sized Bright Point solar cells have been confirmed by NREL at 10.9% conversion efficiency. BSE further claims Bright Point can achieve a 23% commercial efficiency potential by leveraging the boron impurities in the UMG substrate. The technique or principle involved here was not discussed. Overview of SAI PV Incubator Awards details the $2,990,000 proceeds used to fund research and development towards the 23% Bright Point silicon solar cell efficiency objective .
BSE plans to build 39MWp (MegaWatt-peak) of Bright Point solar cell capacity in 2008 and another 113MWp in 2009 for a total of 152MWp capacity in 2009 and targets 200MWp Bright Point capacity by 2010. BSE has already lined up exclusive silicon suppliers for their virtual vertical integration strategy. BSE will focus on Bright Point solar cell production using proprietary processes and production equipment while outsourced manufacturers will produce solar modules. In addition, BSE expects to sell 25 to 50% of their production to Bright Point solar cell customers. BSE has no ambitions beyond manufacturing and will not enter the downstream installation business.
In November 2007, BSE will receive prototype production equipment for a 5.5MWp Bright Point solar cell line to prove their scalable solar manufacturing system.
For some reason, BSE skipped the de rigueur slide about the Management Team, a critical Venture Capitalist (VC) judgment metric. Could this be related to the news in Solar Light Flashes: October 22, 2007?
This investment round is open to new investors and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008.
All things considered, Blue Square Energy earns high marks for executing to the plans they discussed with me earlier this year. However, the production capacity build to the full 200MWp appears to be delayed by over a year. Perhaps this is related to the delivery schedules for their proprietary Bright Point production equipment?