NuvoSun, a thin-film solar firm founded by former MiaSolé CEO Dave Pearce, was just acquired by Dow Chemical.
Dow had invested in the firm in early 2010. According to sources close to the deal, NuvoSun is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical. Dow has not yet responded to our inquiries.
Presumably, the NuvoSun CIGS products are destined for Dow’s solar shingles, a building-integrated PV (BIPV) product that has long been promised by Dow. Solar shingles would seem to be a natural fit for the BIPV concept, but reliability, craft, and interconnection issues are still obstacles to widespread deployment on new or rebuilt rooftops.
Dave Pearce, the CEO of NuvoSun, has spent ten years developing CIGS-based thin-film solar and has lived to tell about it. Pearce founded NuvoSun in January 2008 after parting company as CEO of MiaSolé, the thin-film solar company he founded in 2001. MiaSolé was acquired by Hanergy late last year for pennies on the dollar. Pearce has admitted that he might have over-promised and under-delivered while at MiaSolé, an error he has not made at the relatively quiet NuvoSun. Pearce has claimed that he sees a path for NuvoSun to get its costs below $0.50 per watt.
Will a thin-film solar startup ever be able to get to market and commercial scale without partnering with an established manufacturing and technology company? The once sizable population of standalone CIGS aspirants continues to dwindle as companies fail or as early-stage firms are forced to consolidate with much larger partners.
Here’s a partial list of CIGS solar firms, their 2011 production as estimated by GTM Research, and their current status: