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Solar start-up nabs BP exec

Bob Oswald, who directed solar tech efforts at BP, will be chief technology officer at HelioVolt.

Bob Oswald, who headed up research efforts at BP Solar and Solarex over the past two decades, has joined HelioVolt as chief technology officer.

HelioVolt specializes in copper-indium-gallium-selenium solar technology. CIGS can be added to roof tiling or siding inconspicuously and thereby turn these building materials into energy-harvesting devices. CIGS, according to proponents, is more efficient and durable than the flexible solar panels (which harvest solar energy through photovoltaic dyes) promoted by some other start-ups. CIGS cells are also far less obtrusive and could become cheaper over time than traditional solar cells. The company received $8 million in funding from, among others, New Enterprise Associates in June.