Even with more than $100 million in federal funding lined up, John Van Dine, founder and CEO of Sage Electrochromics, says the additional $80 million needed to expand his operations has been elusive. “In this economic climate, it hasn’t been the most straightforward capitalization,” he says, “but it appears now that it’s coming together.” Van Dine anticipates closing a debt and equity deal soon.
Sage, based in Faribault, makes electronically tintable glass. Flip a switch and windows made with SageGlass morph from crystal clear to a dark tint. When a coating on the glass gets low-voltage stimulation, ions and electrons rearrange themselves to create or clear the tint. SageGlass also can be programmed to respond on its own to changing light conditions.
The company got both a $72 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy and a $31 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit earlier this year, because SageGlass could reduce the energy consumed for heating, cooling, and lighting buildings. Sage plans a high-volume, 250,000-square-foot manufacturing plant next to the 60,000-square-foot plant it operates now, and expects to break ground this fall.