Konarka Technologies, Inc., a Lowell, Mass.-based developer and provider of solar plastic films that convert light to energy, has received a $20m strategic investment from Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc., a global company which is creating new pillar businesses in the environment and energy field.
The two companies have also signed a comprehensive R&D agreement to start full-scale collaboration in April in the joint development and distribution of organic thin-film photovoltaics.
Konarka and Konica Minolta will organize respective strengths in materials, optical and coating technologies as well as joint development, aiming to improve organic thin-film photovoltaic performance including higher conversion efficiency, longer life and lower manufacturing costs, to realize mass production of next-generation photovoltaics.
Upon successful results of the joint development milestones, the companies are expected to establish a joint venture company in Japan to produce organic thin-film photovoltaic panels. In that case, Konica Minolta will be Konarka’s lead Asian business partner headquartered in Japan.
Konarka Technologies already has operations worldwide with a full scale production manufacturing facility in New Bedford, Mass. U.S.A., and with European headquarters in Nurnberg, Germany, business development offices in Asia and a research and development facility in Austria.