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Nanosolar raises $300 million for thin-film solar

The green-tech darling has brought in about half a billion dollars in the last six years and hopes to finalize major solar-power facilities in San Jose, Calif., and Berlin.

Nanosolar, a maker of thin-film solar panels, said that it has raised $300 million to accelerate production of solar-power facilities in Berlin and San Jose, Calif.

The round of funding, which was completed this spring but announced Wednesday by Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen on the company's blog, brings the total money the six-year-old company has raised to half of a billion dollars. Nanosolar is one of the darlings of the clean-tech investing craze.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Nanosolar's strategic investors include power company AES Corp., equity firm the Carlyle Group, and electric utility company EDF--the three of which formed AES Solar as part of the deal, Roscheisen said. Those alliances will presumably help Nanosolar develop utility-scale solar power that would be cost efficient.

Other investors were hedge fund Lone Pine Capital, the Skoll Foundation, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar's fund, he said.

"The new capital will allow us to accelerate production expansion for our 430 megawatt San Jose factory and our 620 megawatt Berlin factory," Roscheisen wrote.

He did not say when the facilities will be complete. But he said that the funding will help the company meet demand for the thin-film solar technology it introduced in December. Nanosolar is one of several companies betting on a photovoltaic-alternative known as copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), which purportedly convert more sunlight into energy than other types of thin-film materials.

"The alliance for solar utility power is the outcome of a year long effort on behalf of our strategic partners examining the solar industry, investigating virtually every solar company on the planet, and conducting one of the most thorough due diligence efforts," he wrote.