Utilight is developing a revolutionary printing technology for the manufacturing of PV solar cells. The company was approved for funding under the Jiangsu (China) - Israel Industrial R&D Program with its Chinese partner
“The value we got from our cooperation with MATIMOP went well beyond the financing aspect,” so says Utilight CEO Giora Dishon. “I would even venture to say that more important than the financing is the fact that participation in the program creates a deeper commitment on the part of the foreign partner - in our case one of China’s leading manufacturers of solar panels.”
Utilight is developing a revolutionary printing technology for the manufacturing of PV solar cells. The company was founded in 2009 and has received a number of investments from angels and institutional investors totaling over $10M. 2014 is set to be the company’s break-out year, during which Utilight will be supplying its advanced printing system to a beta customer.
Together with its Chinese partner, one the world’s largest companies in the solar panel production arena, Utilight applied and was approved for funding under the Jiangsu (China) - Israel Industrial R&D Program. Within the framework of the program, the two companies together may access financing - from the Chinese and Israeli governments. But as Giora said, the main benefit of the program was the fact that both partners create a long term commitment to cooperation. Although Utilight had created the initial contact with its Chinese partner , their joint submission to the program and participation itself cemented the partnership. The Chinese partner is expected to be Utilight’s first major customer.
Utilight’s advanced printing technology provides solar panel manufacturers with significant cost saving in their production process through increased efficiency and materials savings. Since the cost of producing solar panels is perhaps the main barrier for the advancement of the solar industry today, this savings can be an important boost for the solar industry, enabling the manufacturers to provide a reduced cost panel to the end customer in turn. Utilight’s systems will sell for about $400,000 each, but the company’s business plan includes revenue from printing consumables as well. The systems will be manufactured in Israel, through subcontractors, and the beginning of commercial activity for Utilight is also expected to provide jobs to Israeli workers.
Giora also provided his perspective on the company’s cooperation with MATIMOP, which operates bilateraliIndustrial R&D programs on behalf of the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Economy. “MATIMOP is our contact for the program, and they do all the coordination work with the Chinese and Israeli governments,” says Giora. “They are professional, focused and very responsive. Our contact, Ms. Merav Tapiero, Program Manager of the Israel-China Industrial R&D Cooperation Framework at MATIMOP, does a lot to make the process run smoothly and efficiently.” Utilight and its Chinese partner are now in the process of applying for an additional program for another R&D project under the Jiangsu-Israel Bi-national Program.