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Solar star Miasole looking for IPO in 12, 18 months

Miasole, one of the fast-rising companies in solar technology, will try to do an IPO within 12 to 18 months, said CEO David Pearce (no, not the guy from "Frasier").

The goal for 2007 for the company is also to be profitable for the year.

It's a tall order for a start-up, but the timing is pretty good. Solar panels are in short supply these days. Miasole specializes in CIGS solar cells. CIGS stands for copper indium gallium selenide. Unlike silicon solar cells, CIGS cells can be printed on flexible sheets of foil or other material.

CIGS solar panels can not harvest as much energy from the sun as silicon panels. Miasole has shown a CIGS cell that can harvest 19.5 percent of the sun's energy. That would translate to about 15 percent efficiency in high volume manufacturing, said Pearce. Silicon solar cells on the market already exceed that.

CIGS panels, however, cost less, he said, and so do the factories. CIGS gets coated onto film, similarly to how hard drives get coated with magnetic material. Making silicon solar panels is a bit more arduous.

Contractors and home builders, hence, will likely find CIGS attractive, according to Pearce. By the fourth quarter, Miasole expects to have factory capacity running that could supply 50 megawatts worth of solar panels a year. (The measurement refers to this: If you got all of the solar panels put out by the company in a year and activated them at once, they could provide 50 megawatts of power.)

By the end of 2007, the company hopes to have 200 megawatts of capacity.