SiXtron, a company based in Montreal that makes thin film coatings for solar cells, has raised CDN $10 million (about $10.9 million in US dollars) in its first round of financing.

The funding was led by Ventures West. Canadian firms iNovia Capital, Innovatech sud du Québec, and Fonds d’investissement en développement durable (FIDD) also participated. Seed funding of CDN $1 million was provided in early 2004 by MSBi Capital and Innovatech sud du Québec.

Here’s a blurb on the technology from the company’s release:

Founded in 2004, SiXtron is a joint spin-off of technology developed out of Bishop’s University and the Université de Sherbrooke. The company is based in Montreal and is focused on developing highly scalable and cost-effective, amorphous silicon carbide (SiC)-based thin film coatings for the solar industry…

One of the final steps in the fabrication of silicon solar cells is the application of passivation and anti-reflective coatings. The purpose of this manufacturing step is to optimize cell efficiency. SiXtron’s proprietary “silane free” process for the deposition of SiC composite thin films offers several compelling advantages over conventional silicon nitride (SiN) coatings, the current dominant solution within the industry. These include enhanced solar cell and module performance and eliminating the use of extremely pyrophoric silane gas (used in SiN coatings). Since a fatal gas explosion at a Taiwanese solar cell production facility in 2005, the industry has been looking for a reliable alternative.