The company, which has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop the organization’s black silicon solar technology, offered stock at a discount to shareholders in order to raise capital. The money will allow Natcore to develop and commercialize its liquid-phase deposition machinery for solar cells.
Natcore decided to raise the money in order to ensure the company’s long-term viability and independence.
The New Jersey company was negotiating joint venture agreements with solar photovoltaic manufacturers in the US and in China to develop the machinery, said Natcore president and CEO Chuck Provini. But the agreements were hampered by demands from the partnering solar companies that would have limited Natcore’s ability to grow and profit from its extensive research and development efforts to date.
“The companies we were negotiating with also wanted certain exclusivities,” Provini said. “And we realized that for a relatively small amount of money we can design and develop it ourselves. Once we do that, we’ll have a more meaningful product.”
And those solar manufacturers that might have been partners will now be customers instead.
Natcore planned the private placement months in advance, but Provini said he was surprised by how quickly the company raised the funding.
Private placement allows a company to call existing stockholders and offer them a discount of 5 to 15 percent on the public market price of a stock along with a warrant to buy more stock at a fixed price higher than the current stock price, but likely lower than the future stock price for a certain period.
“We have a very loyal following,” Provini said. “We easily could have raised twice as much, but we raised only what we needed for the task at hand.”
He said the company is hiring a couple high-level scientists to take the research and development to the next level and bring the company’s technology to market.