Indoor-powered Solar Cell firm Ambient Photonics breaks ground on California Manufacturing plant

Nov. 9, 2022
Ambient will produce high power density solar cells which, it says, can reduce the carbon footprint of connected device products as much as 80 percent by eliminating disposable batteries

Low-light solar cell startup Ambient Photonics has opened its new headquarters in Scotts Valley, California, and now plans to build and operate a manufacturing plant there.

The company ceremonially broke ground on its 43,000-square-foot manufacturing plant earlier this month. The Ambient Fab 1 facility will make low-light indoor solar cells utilizing production equipment from Manz AG.

The facility could begin deliveries by the first half of 2023. Many of its customers would include companies in the consumer electronics and Internet of Things sectors.

“The legacy of battery waste in consumer electronics has become the barrier to achieving the dream of a connected, IoT world,” Ambient CEO Bates Marshall said in a statement. “Ambient’s technology addresses the growing environmental impact of disposable batteries head on.”

Between the Scotts Valley headquarters and planned manufacturing facility, Ambient hopes to employ about 100 people by this time next year.

Ambient will produce high power density solar cells which, it says, can reduce the carbon footprint of connected device products as much as 80 percent by eliminating disposable batteries. The automated manufacturing system would use industrial printing processes to deposit the PV molecules on thin, durable glass substrates, according to the company.

More Energy Transition Manufacturing news from EnergyTech

EV Van maker Canoo locating Battery Module plant in Oklahoma

Cummins plotting first U.S. Hydrogen Electrolyzer plant in the U.S.

First Solar investing $1.2B to expand U.S. Manufacturing

These cells do not require direct sunlight but can use ambient lighting to generate the electricial energy required for a wide range of applications, according to the firms. Engineering firm Manz AG will deliver the production solutions.

“Manz services the world’s largest manufacturing leaders, and Ambient’s investment in our highly specialized production solutions proves their commitment to high-volume, high-quality production,” Manz AG CEO Martin Drasch said in a statement. “We are delighted to join Ambient in its journey of Smart Home and Internet of Things market innovation.”

The Ambient manufacturing plant also will have rooftop and parking canopy solar PV panels installed to deliver on-site, carbon-free energy for the facility.

In May, Ambient announced a successful Series A funding round, totaling $31 million from Amazon via its Climate Pledge Fund, as well as Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Future Shape and I Squared Capital.