Apricum Facilitates Record USD 17M Funding Round for Swedish Solar Innovator Sol Voltaics with New Middle Eastern Investor
Apricum – The Cleantech Advisory, the Berlin-based transaction and strategy advisory firm specialized in clean technologies, acted as financial advisor to Swedish advanced materials start-up Sol Voltaics in raising USD 17M, bringing in the Saudi Arabian fund Riyadh Valley Company as the lead investor.
After a global investor search conducted by Apricum – The Cleantech Advisory on behalf of its client Sol Voltaics, the company raised a record round of USD 12.5M in equity investments, topped up by more than USD 4.5M in grants provided by the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Union. The Series C round was led by incoming 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 equity funding. The capital raise represents the largest solar technology funding round in Europe in the last 18 months.
Sol Voltaics is a spin-off company from Lund University, Sweden, which has solved one of the longstanding holy grails of the solar industry – making inexpensive solar cells from gallium arsenide, one of the most suitable materials for solar cells. The company is using a proprietary and patented low-cost process (“Aerotaxy®”) to grow nanowire solar cells, from which a flexible and semitransparent film is made. The successful vertical alignment of the nanowires in a thin film represents a recent major technical breakthrough for the company.
Sol Voltaics’ film, when integrated on top of traditional silicon solar cells as a tandem cell (“dual junction”), boosts the module efficiency by more than 50%, enabling module conversion efficiency exceeding an unprecedented 27%. The new funding will bolster Sol Voltaics’ efforts to bring its technology to market.“To overcome the physical limits of current mainstream single-junction technology, the photovoltaic industry needs to find a low-cost dual-junction technology,” said Dr. Moritz Borgmann, partner at Apricum. “Sol Voltaics, with its drop-in product, provides a game-changing yet simple solution to this problem. The great investor interest underlines how compelling the technology is.”
“Apricum’s deep understanding of solar technology and markets, as well as their truly global network of relevant investors impressed us greatly,” said Erik Smith, CEO of Sol Voltaics. “Their professionalism and expert input into our strategy and business model were instrumental for the successful conclusion of this fundraising round.”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.The Saudi government recently unveiled the “Saudi Vision 2030” plan, a wide-ranging economic and social policy effort that sets an initial deployment target of 9.5 gigawatts of solar and other renewable energy sources by 2023 under the new “King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative”.