Semprius not planning to leave town

May. 03, 2014 @ 09:20 PM

The president of Semprius says there is no truth to rumors that the facility in Henderson closing.

“That is not true,” Joe Carr said. “No, we are not closing in Henderson.”

He said downsizing at the Henderson plant a few months ago is not an indication that it is closing; he wouldn’t say how many employees had been laid off or how many worked at the facility.

In 2012, Siemens, a global supplier of energy, health care and infrastructure products, divested from solar energy companies, including Semprius.

“Obviously, Siemens was a good partner, but we have other partners we are working with,” Carr said. “We have a nice pipeline of businesses we are developing outside the Siemens relationship. We would love to have Siemens as a trusted partner, but long-term it will not impact the company.”

Semprius, founded in 2005, uses the world’s smallest solar cell — approximately the size of a pencil point — to create solar modules.

The company, headquartered in Durham, opened the Henderson facility in September 2012.

Semprius set a new world record that year for photovoltaic module efficiency, reaching 33.9 percent.

Carr said the company recently manufactured the first four-junction, four-terminal stacked solar cell using its proprietary micro-transfer printing process.

A multi-junction cell solar cell will produce electric current at multiple wavelengths of light. This increases the conversion efficiency from the solar light power to usable electric power.

By using four junctions, the new-stacked cell is able to achieve efficiencies much higher than traditional silicon and thin-film single-junction solar cells, which are currently the most widely used technologies.

Initial trials yielded solar cells with measured efficiencies up to 43.9 percent.

In addition, the new-stacked cell has four terminals, rather than the standard two. This increases the solar cell’s energy yield.

Carr said the new-stacked cell is still in the research and development phases.

“We still have a lot of development activities before we are ready for commercialization,” he said. “But I think that’s an indication that we are moving along quite nicely.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.