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Solar star Konarka raises another $20 million

Konarka, which specializes in plastics that convert light into electricity, has raised $20 million in its latest round of venture funding.

Konarka, which specializes in plastics that convert light into electricity, has raised $20 million in its latest round of venture funding, bringing the total of venture investments in the company to $60 million since 2001.

The company is one of the more noteworthy start-ups trying to bring alternative energy into the mainstream. Konarka's photovoltaic material can convert a broader spectrum of light, including invisible light, into electricity than traditional silicon solar cells. The material can also be embedded in plastic and is invisible. Thus, solar harvesting materials can be embedded unobtrusively into windows and roof tiles. Other start-ups such as HelioVolt and NanoSolar (a Stanford start-up with investments from Sergey Brin and Larry Page) are also touting materials that perform the same functions.

British venture firm 3i was the lead investor in the latest round of fundraising. Previous investors include Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson and New Enterprise Associates.