Lux Research: Konarko Was Inefficient and Costly

Thin-film solar panel maker Konarko’s bankruptcy was due to its inability to compete on cost, efficiency, and lifetime, reports Lux Research.

Konarka was one of the first solar companies to be funded with venture capital, said Nathaniel Bullard, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in San Francisco. “It received its first venture investments nearly 11 years ago, in August 2001,” he says.  The company was backed by Chevron Corp. (CVX), Draper Fisher Jurvetson and New Enterprise Associates Inc., says Bloomberg.

Having taken in $170 million in venture capital and $30 million in grant funding, it built what it claimed was a 1GW manufacturing line, although the line would never come close to that capacity.  According to Lux Research, Konarka’s technology cost ten times more and was ten times less efficient than alternative solar technologies.

Konarka’s website states that its panels had a conversion efficiency of about 9 percent. Semprius Inc., a solar panel maker backed by Siemens AG (SIE), claims to have demonstrated the world’s highest efficiency in the lab of 33.9 percent, according to a Bloomberg article.

To read the full Lux Research article cited in this story, click here

To read the full BloombergBusinessweek article cited in this story, click here

Tags: Policy , Solar

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