Sol Voltaics raises USD17 million for cell efficiency nanotech

Sweden-based cleantech startup Sol Voltaics announced a capital raise of $17million in the series C funding round. According to Apricum, which acted as company’s financial advisor in the transaction, this is the largest solar-technology funding round in Europe over the past 18 months.

The funding round was led by Sol Voltaics’ new investor Riyadh Valley Company (RVC), the VC of King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The startup’s long-term investors Umoe, FAM, Industrifonden, and Nano Future Invest also contributed 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.

What Sol Voltaics is about to offer to the market is a tandem-layer technology designed to increase the efficiency of existing solar modules by over 50%.

"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," said Erik Smith, CEO of Sol Voltaics.

In April, at Ecosummit 2016 in Berlin, Erik Smith introduced the latest test results to the audience. He claimed that by integrating a layer of gallium-arsenide nanowires in a thin film, Sol Voltaics’ breakthrough innovation could potentially increase cell efficiency by 60% or even 70%.

According to Sol Voltaics’ CEO, during the latest tests, successful alignment of gallium-arsenide nanowires in a 17.5% efficient thin film solar cell has boosted the efficiency to 28%.

Obviously, implementation of the new technology will also result in higher costs. However, according to Erik Smith, the cost increase will be no higher than 5-10%. Sol Voltaics’ CEO announced that the company is planning to start pilot production in 2017.