Ambient Photonics recently broke ground on its planned 43,000-square foot low-light solar cell manufacturing facility in Scotts Valley. (Photo: Business Wire)

The company will produce state-of-the-art energy harvesting technology at the Scotts Valley facility

November 3, 2022

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif.—Ambient Photonics reported it broke ground on a state-of-the-art facility in Scotts Valley, where it will manufacture low-light solar cells for manufacturers of connected devices. The planned 43,000-square-foot plant will be one of the world’s largest factories to produce low-light indoor energy harvesting technology, Ambient said in a release.

Ambient, the recipient of $48.5 million in recent Series A funding, said its high power density solar cells enable connected device manufacturers to reduce the carbon footprint of their products by up to 80 percent by eliminating disposable batteries. The company, which also recently opened its new headquarters in Scotts Valley, estimated that it will employ a total of more than 100 full-time people between the two locations by November of 2023.

“The legacy of battery waste in consumer electronics has become the barrier to achieving the dream of a connected, IoT world,” said Ambient Photonics CEO Bates Marshall, in the release. “Ambient’s technology addresses the growing environmental impact of disposable batteries head on. The Scotts Valley factory groundbreaking is a major milestone as we prove that both the U.S. and California can be leaders in the manufacturing of decarbonization technologies for the world.”

Ambient’s Fab 1 manufacturing facility in Scotts Valley will reportedly house “the first-ever high-volume, fully-automated production line for low-light indoor solar cells using state-of-the-art equipment from Manz AG.” Manz AG also serves tech, automotive, and e-mobility heavyweights across the globe.

“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,” said Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz AG, in the release. “We are delighted to join Ambient in its journey of Smart Home and Internet of Things market innovation.”

Reported to offer “breakthrough energy density,” Ambient’s solar PV cells harness photons from across the indoor ambient light spectrum and power a range of electronic devices.
The company said its fully-automated production system leverages industrial printing processes to deposit its novel molecules on thin, durable glass substrates. Custom cells are swiftly deployable for integration into electronic devices at a price point for mass scale, the company added.

Ambient expects to begin deliveries from the new factory to high-volume consumer electronics and IoT customers in the first half of 2023. The company said that connected device manufacturers partner with Ambient to improve product sustainability and address Scope 3 emissions from their supply chains. With planned rooftop and parking canopy solar PV systems, Ambient’s manufacturing facility will also be powered by clean, renewable energy, the company said.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ambient Photonics to Scotts Valley,” said Scotts Valley Mayor Donna Lind, in the release. “Ambient brings quality jobs to Santa Cruz County with an appealing work-life balance—avoiding the stressful traffic jams and unnecessary air pollution that comes with a Silicon Valley commute. Living sustainably is fundamental to the health and well-being of our community. Ambient’s work to reduce waste and carbon emissions in our everyday devices is something of which we can all be proud.”

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