Konarka Garners $45 Million in Financing—Prepares To Bring “Power Plastic” to Market

Konarka Technologies, a Lowell, MA, maker of nanotech-based solar materials, announced today that it had secured $45 million in private funding intended to accelerate development and commercialization of its organic photovoltaic products. Konarka’s materials, which convert light to electricity, are aimed at providing low-cost, renewable sources of power for everything from cell phone chargers to outdoor lighting.

The round was led by new investor Mackenzie Financial and co-led by a previous investor, Good Energies, a leading player in the renewable energy sector headquartered in Zug, Switzerland. (Konarka founder and executive chairman of the board Howard Berke joined Good Energies’ executive leadership team this summer.) Also taking part in the round were Pegasus Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, and at least eight other firms. All told the firm has raised $105 million since its 2001 inception.

“It’s basically to continue the development to commercialization that we really began in earnest a year ago,” Rick Hess, Konarka’s president and CEO, says of the new funding. “It will go into a multitude of applications.”

The photovoltaics made by Konarka are fabricated from electrically conductive organic polymers, or plastics–hence its term Power Plastics. Hess says the company is developing three categories of products. First on the agenda are components for portable products such a cell phones or other electronic devices that will allow them to be solar-charged. He says the first products in this area “will come out mid-next year.” After that will come products for indoor applications such as electronic shelf labels powered by photovoltaic materials. The third area is the outdoor market, where Konarka’s materials might be used to power things like awnings.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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