Heliatek GmbH, a German organic solar film startup, has brought in €18 million from a number of investors. One is AQTON SE investment holding headed by German entrepreneur and BMW heir Stefan Quandt. This latest round is the C or third round. The company has raised a total of €46 million. Previous investors include Bosch, BASF, Innogy Venture Capital1, Wellington Partners, eCAPITAL, HTGF and TGFS.
The extra funds will help Heliatek with its entry into the marketplace. Currently, its prototypes are being supplied to auto manufacturers and construction material companies.
For a startup, Heliatek has some impressive accomplishments. It holds the world record in efficiency for opaque organic solar cells at 12%. Their technology has also performed at 7% efficiency with up to 40% transparency.
“In the last 12 months, Heliatek has made enormous progress as the technology leader in organic solar films, and we are now looking forward to taking the next steps towards commercialization together with AQTON SE,” explained Paul-Josef Patt, CEO of eCAPITAL AG.
Solar film is appealing because it can be integrated into buildings to generate electricity using existing surface areas. Building integrated photovoltaics are an important part of new construction projects that will be near net-zero, or will be net zero due to legal requirements, “As early as 2018, all new public buildings will have to conform to a “nearly zero” standard. In the “Costs and Benefits of BIPV” study commissioned by the Economic Forum Ltd., architect Torsten Massek from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona predicts strong growth in the wake of the new EU Directive. According to Massek, high-rise buildings, for example, that have too little roof surface area to generate a sufficient amount of solar energy will only be able to meet the new criteria if photovoltaics or solar thermal is installed on the facade.”
Germany and France currently are leaders in BIPV.
NREL did a good job summarizing why BIPV might become more attractive, “Form has long played second fiddle to function in the world of solar PV, but building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are out to change that paradigm. BIPV encompasses a group of solar technologies that are built directly into the envelope of the host building, instead of mounted on the building’s exterior.
Whether it’s a roof, a window, a façade, or a curtain wall (an outer covering to a building that doesn’t carry any structural load; see bottom-left photo), BIPV modules can actually replace the construction materials that would otherwise be incorporated into such surfaces. BIPV performs the same functions as the replaced structures
(e.g. keeping out the weather) while at the same time generating electricity for onsite use. The semiconducting materials found in BIPV applications are much the same as you would find in the traditional PV technologies—and just as with traditional PV, crystalline silicon (c-Si) modules dominate the market.”
It will be fascinating to see what efficiency levels can be reached with organic solar film, especially when we are at the beginning phases of the higher ones.