Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH and I2BF Global Ventures invested in Utilight Ltd., an Israeli producer of technology to cut the cost of making solar cells.
Waarde Capital BV, based in the Netherlands, also added to the $4.5 million financing, New York-based clean technology investor I2BF said today in an e-mailed statement.
Utilight, founded in 2009, is developing a cheaper way to apply a conducting metal layer to photovoltaic cells. Producers are trying to reduce costs after a price war between Chinese companies and European rivals cut panel prices in half in 2011. Bosch, a unit of the biggest car-parts supplier, has solar assets since buying Ersol Solarstrom GmbH & Co. KG in 2008.
“Utilight’s innovation comes at a crucial time for the industry,” Alexey Belyakov, partner and head of research at I2BF, said in the statement. “It brings solar PV cell manufacturers exactly what they need -- manufacturing efficiency and higher performance of their products.”
Utilight’s method of wafer-metallization, known as pattern transfer printing, avoids excessive use of materials including silver paste and allows cells to generate more power, I2BF said.