Intel Capital, the corporate venturing unit of US-listed semiconductor company Intel, has led the €18.8m ($26m) investment in Sulfurcell, a Germany-based developer of solar panel modules. The other members of the investment consortium are European power utilities Vattenfall Europe (formerly known as Bewag) and GdF Suez, Abu Dhabi state-backed Masdar Clean Tech Investments and venture capital firms Ventegis Capital, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Climate Change Capital Private Equity, BankInvest Group, Zouk Ventures, Conetwork Erneuerbare Energien and Demeter. Nikolaus Meyer, chief executive of Sulfurcell, said: "The financing is the result of our great progress in 2010 in which we developed an industrial manufacturing process delivering thin-film modules with efficiencies over 12%, while also ramping up our brand new 35 MW production plant and fully automated manufacturing facility." Sulfurcell’s investors have funded the acquisition of additional equipment and ongoing research targeting 14% efficiency within the next 12 to 18 months. Heiko von Dewitz, investment director at Intel Capital, which initially invested in 2008, said: "In the past 5 years, Sulfurcell has become an important provider of solutions for solar construction and building-integrated photovoltaics. The investment will allow Sulfurcell to continue the successful development of its leading edge CIGSe [a four-component semiconductor compounds CuIn1-xGaxSe2] technology." Intel Capital had previously led and invested €24m in Sulfurcell’s previous €85m round that closed in July 2008. The earlier consortium had seen Vattenfall and GdF invest together through the BEU Berliner Energie Umweltfonds corporate venturing joint venture. In 2001, Sulfurcell was founded as a spin-off from the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy, previously known as the Hahn-Meitner Institute.

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