Corning Inc. (GLW:US), the maker of glass for flat-panel televisions, phones and tablets, led a $60 million investment in View Inc. and will help the company develop tintable, energy-saving windows for buildings.
Khosla Ventures, General Electric Co. (GE:US), Sigma Partners LP and NanoDimension Management Ltd. also participated in View’s Series E funding round, and the company has raised about $182.5 million in total equity financing since 2006, Chief Executive Officer Rao Mulpuri said by telephone.
Closely held View, based in Milpitas, California, is developing “dynamic glass” that changes tint in response to environmental conditions and user preferences, controlling the amount of sunlight and heat in buildings. Energy consumed by lighting, heating and air conditioning systems is reduced by about 20 percent a year in “a typical commercial installation,” View said today in a statement.
“It’s the next big thing in buildings,” Mulpuri said. “It’s highly energy-efficient. It’s how things should be built.”
View’s addressable market is about $100 billion, assuming about 10 percent of the world’s windows could use its glass, Mulpuri said. About 25 billion square feet of glass a year is installed globally as external windows, he said.
That’s about eight times as much glass used annually in liquid crystal display televisions, a market worth about $10 billion to $15 billion a year, said Jeffrey Evenson, Corning’s senior vice president and operations chief of staff. “This is a big opportunity for us.”
Corning’s investment will support research and development to improve the quality of View’s product and create new applications, Evenson said. The companies will collaborate on “multiple phases of development” that will make tintable glass “a really common component of major architectural projects,” he said.
View’s glass tints when an electrical voltage is applied, which can be programmed to occur or triggered on-demand by building occupants with software or control systems that it’s also developing. About 100 watts of power is used for every 1,000 panes of View’s five-foot by ten-foot glass, Mulpuri said. The amount of consumption is “very small.”
The collaboration with Corning could lead to a glass supply agreement in the future, though in the interim View will continue buying from “architectural” suppliers, Mulpuri said. View, which changed its name from Soladigm Inc. last year, began shipments to customers about six months ago from its factory in Olive Branch, Mississippi, and has 25 installations under way or completed, he said.
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