Sol Voltaics, a Swedish startup for solar PV, has raised a record round of $17 million in new equity investment and grant funding to accelerate commercialization of its nanowire solar film tandem-layer technology.
The Series C funding round was led by new investor Riyadh Valley Company (RVC), the venture capital investment arm of King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Long-term investors Umoe, FAM, Industrifonden, and Nano Future Invest demonstrated their continuing commitment to Sol Voltaics by contributing to the $12.5 million in equity.
In addition, the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program backed the company with over $4.5 million in additional grants, the company said.
The new investment will bolster Sol Voltaics’ efforts to bring its nanowire-based solar efficiency boosting film to market. The company recently announced a major technological breakthrough with the successful alignment of gallium-arsenide nanowires in a thin film.
When integrated in a tandem-junction architecture on mainstream crystalline silicon panels, Sol Voltaics’ nanomaterials innovations will enable photovoltaic (PV) module efficiencies of greater than 27 percent — a 50 percent enhancement in energy generation compared to today’s solar panels.
Sol Voltaics has been pursuing development of Aerotaxy technology for several years. This patented process, originating out of Lund University in Sweden, is the foundation for producing nanowire solar cells and films in a cost-effective manner, a key parameter in the commercialization process.
“There is a tremendous amount of interest in a number of competing tandem-layer technologies designed to significantly boost the efficiency of existing solar modules,” said Erik Smith, CEO of Sol Voltaics.
“Following our recent nanowire alignment breakthrough and several other critical technological advances, this latest investment from new and long-term partners reflects the confidence they have in Sol Voltaics’ ability to become the premier commercial solution for stacked tandem-junction solar modules,” Smith added.
RVC’s investment in Sol Voltaics offers another example of Saudi Arabia’s increasing interest in the renewable energy space as the Kingdom moves toward realizing its huge potential for solar energy, according to company officials.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently unveiled the “Saudi Arabia Vision 2030” plan as part of the new King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative, which aims to achieve an initial domestic deployment target of 9.5 gigawatts of solar and other renewable energy sources by 2023.