Solar “skin” will allow buildings to self-power

HelioVolt, a solar energy technology company, recently closed $8 million in Series A venture funding from New Enterprise Associates in Menlo Park, Calif. to develop fast thin-film solar technology for power buildings. The company has invented the fastest and most efficient way to manufacture thin film photovoltaic platforms that are surfaced with copper indium selenide (CIS).

The company’s field-assisted simultaneous synthesis and transfer (FASST) technology can apply CIS coatings to traditional construction materials like steel and architectural glass and roofing, in custom shapes, sizes, and tints. The coating looks similar to slate, and can be incorporated into exterior cladding for buildings, including metal and polymer roofing, skylights, and curtain walls, which creates a new class of PV construction materials that couldn’t be produced with silicone.

FASST will enable architects and contractors to use a building’s “skin” to self-power it, which is a process that’s referred to as building-integrated photovoltaics.