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While solar companies seem to be above the economic fray these days, the silicon supply that keeps many of them in business is not. The shortage (which began around 2004) isn’t as bad as it used to be, but investors funding photovoltaic manufacturers still see it as somewhat of a gamble. Their most recent bet: Chinese silicon wafer maker JinkoSolar, which says it already has long-term silicon supply contracts in the bag. The company nabbed $35 million in second-round funding from Israel Value Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group Co., Pitango Venture Capital and the city of Shangrao, China, where the company is headquartered.
JinkoSolar’s specialty is the conversion of raw silicon into solar ingots, which can then be processed into solar cells. Investors have also taken a chance on its competitors, including Confluence Solar Inc. The Hazelwood, Mo. company just raised $12.7 million in first-round funding from Convexa Capital and Scatec Adventure AS among others.
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