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Austin Clean Tech Hub Expands: HelioVolt To Build Thin-Film Solar Factory

Austin, Texas will be the site of the first manufacturing facility for HelioVolt Corporation, a producer of thin film solar energy products. The site was announced this morning. HelioVolt is headquartered in Austin, home to several clean-tech companies.

When HelioVolt’s initial factory opens in Expo Business Park in Austin, Texas, it will start operating with a production capacity of 20 megawatts (MW) of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film solar products. The company expects the new factory to create more than 150 additional jobs in the region.

Construction of the facility will be financed by the company’s Series B funding round, which recently closed at $101 million.

Red Herring recognized HelioVolt as one of the year's top private technology companies and awarded the firm its Red Herring 100 Global award at an event in Seattle. In 2006, HelioVolt was the overall Silver winner of the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award.

Suburban, the national car of Texas

Texas does not do anything in a small way. It's known for being the largest wind generator in the U.S., but has also come under fire for being the state with the most greenhouse gas emissions. (For more on this, and the source of the Suburban reference, listen to the November 26, 2007, NPR-National Geographic "Climate Connections" podcast.) If Texas were a country, it would rank in the top 10 globally in global warming pollution, according to Environmental Defense.

Austin has been deliberate and successful in building a hub for the clean tech industry. Companies in and around Austin's city limits include Active Power (flywheel energy storage), Austin Biofuels, CleanFUEL USA (ethanol equipment), Xtreme Power (large power systems), and a wind turbine research partnership of TECO-Westinghouse and Composite Technology Corp.

Austin's Clean Energy Incubator (CEI) provides the resources and facilities necessary for start-ups to attract funding, compete in the market and commercialize their ideas. Thus far, 150 CEI companies have received more than $780 million from investors.