18 September 2013
Sol Voltaics adds $9.4m equity funding to $6.2m Swedish Energy Agency loan
Sol Voltaics AB of Lund, Sweden has completed a total of $15.6m (SEK102m) in new funding by adding $9.4m in an equity round to the $6.2m (SEK41m) loan (announced in June) from the Swedish Energy Agency (SEA), Sweden’s national authority for energy policy issues. The development-stage firm has now reached its 2013 funding goals set earlier this year, which will enable it to enter pilot production with its Solink nanomaterial for increasing the performance and energy output of solar panels.
The latest funding round was led by Norway-based investment firm Umoe, which had previously made an incubation-level investment in Sol Voltaics. Umoe now joins Industrifonden, Nano Future Invest and Foundation Asset Management as major shareholders. Kent Janér, cleantech investor and CEO of Nektar Asset Management, also became an investor, joining veteran solar industry technologist and executive Erik Sauar as a private investor. Founded in 2008, Sol Voltaics’ other existing investors include Teknoinvest AS, Provider Venture of Sweden, and Scatec Energy of Norway. The firm has also previously received public funding from the European Union, Vinnova, and Nordic Innovation Center.
Along with this latest funding round, chairman Magnus Ryde welcomes two new members of the board: Thomas Moe Borseth of Umoe and independent director Kang Sun, former CEO of JA Solar and CEO of Amprius.
“The technology that Sol Voltaics is developing promises to be disruptive in the solar market,” comments Jens Ullveit-Moe, CEO of Umoe and former chairman of REC Solar. Sol Voltaics produces Solink, a gallium arsenide (GaAs) additive for crystalline silicon or thin-film that enables solar modules to convert more of the sun’s light into electricity. The firm says that, to date, the challenge of advanced materials is that they have been expensive to produce and difficult to implement. Sol Voltaics says that Solink can increase module efficiency by up to 25% from existing levels using miniscule amounts of the nano-material. Solink’s Aerotaxy process for producing nanomaterials also reduces the cost of producing the materials while increasing uniformity and volume of production, the firm adds.
Solink is applied to conventional solar panels toward the end of the existing module production process using relatively inexpensive standard equipment. Sol Voltaics expects to produce functional solar cells made from GaAs nanowires for demonstration by the end of 2013. Commercial production of Solink-enhanced modules should begin in 2015 and move into volume production in 2016.
“With this closing we now have the resources to take the company to pilot production,” says Sol Voltaics’ CEO David Epstein. “Together with strategic partners, we plan to demonstrate Wave Concentrated Photovoltaics using large quantities of nanowires on commercially viable solar cells.”