Konarka Technologies, which specializes in lightweight solar cells, announced on Thursday that it has closed another round of funding for $18 million and that it will start to deliver products to its customers by the end of the year. Since 2001, the Lowell, Mass., company has raised $32 million from venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, among others.
Existing solar cells consist of rigid silicon chips that convert solar energy to electricity and other components. By contrast, Konarka's technology is centered on a dye it has developed to absorb solar energy. The dye can be incorporated into flexible panels or, ultimately, into the case of things like cell phones, the company said. The first products will likely be a cell phone recharger that resembles a foldable, laminated map, said Dan McGahn, an executive vice president at Konarka.