Nines Photovoltaics looks to revolutionise solar cell manufacture
Dublin firm secures additional investment for technology to reduce production costs and improve cell efficiency
Nines Photovoltaics chief executive Edward Duffy said the process will bring changes to how solar cells are manufactured, which will reduce the production cost and make the cells more efficient.
Dublin-based developer of solar equipment Nines Photovoltaics has won “substantial” investment to help bring its technology to market.
The company, which designs technology to reduce the cost of harvesting solar energy, is seeking to validate its first silicon wafer-processing tool in a production environment. Nines will use the funding to carry out this validation in collaboration with solar energy research institute Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany.
The full details of the investment round was not disclosed, but Kernel Capital invested €350,000 through the Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund.
Nines chief executive Edward Duffy said the round included Kernel Capital, existing funders and some new investors.
“It allows us to really start the validation of the process,” he said. “It’s a step changer.”
Describing it as a “disruptive new technology” , Mr Duffy said the process will bring changes to how solar cells are manufactured, which will reduce the production cost and make the cells more efficient.
The process commonly used these days is 30 years old, and involves water-based chemical etching. Nines’ technology uses a dry process solution, which not only demonstrated improved reflection properties of solar cells, which makes them more efficient, but is also more environmentally sound as it uses only chemicals with zero global warming potential. The company has already raised more than €1 million in funding to develop its manufacturing process.
Mr Duffy said the company wanted its machine to be used as a research and development product, which would allow companies to test it for themselves.
“We hope to sell the first machine before the end of the year, or at least have a commitment,” he said.
Ireland may be a small market for solar energy, but the company is turning its attention to overseas as it tries to build a market for its technology. It employs five people at its offices in Tallaght, Co Dublin, and two in Germany.