AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - March 11, 2011) - AstroWatt, a developer of thin crystalline solar cell technology that enables the production of low-cost solar cells, today announced the appointment of Curt Vass as Chief Executive Officer and the achievement of a 13% efficient champion cell utilizing AstroWatt's patented SOM® (Semiconductor-On-Metal) technology to create litho-less local back contact (LBC) hetero-junction solar cells. 

"Curt brings in-depth product and market development experience from the semiconductor equipment and solar industries, including public and venture backed start-up companies," stated Jeannine Sargent, Executive Chairman of AstroWatt.

Mr. Vass spent over 15 years at Applied Materials in positions of increasing levels of responsibility in Engineering and Product Management, including General Manager for a silicon product division. More recently, he has worked with a number of venture-backed companies in the solar area, including two Sequoia Capital funded companies. Mr. Vass earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. In his role, Mr. Vass is responsible for day-to-day operations for AstroWatt. 

"I am pleased to join the AstroWatt team at an exciting time in the development and realization of their thin crystalline solar technology, which will enable a step-function reduction in cost/watt for silicon-based solar cells at a time the industry needs to keep pace with cost-reductions to enable grid-parity for solar without subsidies," commented Mr. Vass. 

Dr. Dharmesh Jawarani, co-founder of AstroWatt, will assume the newly created position of Executive Vice President, Engineering and Product Development. "Dharmesh has been a key driver in the development of AstroWatt's patented SOM® technology and will focus on driving the technology to the next level of development for module-level solutions," according to Sargent. 

"We are pleased to have Curt join our team and look forward to his leadership as we move to the next stage in the company," stated Jawarani. "Today we are also announcing achievement of a 13% champion solar cell utilizing our SOM® technology and novel litho-less LBC hetero-junction cell design," added Jawarani.

"AstroWatt's disruptive substrate technology and litho-less LBC cell architecture is allowing us to make rapid progress. We are on a path to achieve > 20% efficiency with our SOM® approach while utilizing significantly less silicon," commented Leo Mathew, CTO and co-founder of AstroWatt. 

About AstroWatt

Founded in 2006, AstroWatt is the developer of SOM® thin crystalline solar cell technology that enables substantially lower cost solar cells. AstroWatt received an investment from Austin Ventures and NEA. The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Contact Information:

Press Contact:
Kim Hughes
Austin Ventures