US-based Plextronics has completed a $14 million funding round that will help it move further down the road to commercialising its printed electronics-based lighting and solar generation products.

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It is thought that printed electronic technology, which is based on conductive polymers, could eventually become a low-cost replacement for silicon in the photovoltaic (PV) market, if conversion efficiency rates can be improved.

The company said the money raised will be used to boost research and development activity and expand existing pilot manufacturing projects in response to growing customer demand.

Andy Hannah, the company’s president and chief executive, said: “The funding from this round will enable us to continue to advance our lighting and solar products – namely our Organic Light Emitting Diode and Organic PV materials and inks – so that we can scale these products to meet the customer and industry demand we are seeing.”

The company, which was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2002, said that its aim was to employ the technology as a means of generating solar power and also to deploy it in energy-efficient devices.

Solvay North American Investments, which first invested in the firm in 2007 and contributed $12 million in funding during this round, becomes the company’s single largest minority shareholder. Several of Plextronics’ existing private investors also contributed to the B-1 financing arrangement.

The company’s last fund-raising activity took place in 2007, when it obtained $25 million in a similar B-Series financing deal.

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