Solarus, developer and manufacturer of hybrid solar collectors from Venlo (Netherlands) , recently finished an investment round of € 6,7 million. This fresh capital inflow enables the company that produces highly efficient energy systems (up to 4 times more efficient than standard PV-panels), to expand internationally. Amongst the investors in this round is the ForestEffect Fund, a leading impact fund that is liaised to the Dutch Good Growth Fund of the Dutch Government. With recent orders of a large international hotel chain, large residential projects en several production plants, Solarus is scaling up its international business activities.
Growth through partnership
CEO of Solarus, Dutchman Leen Zevenbergen, expects that within 5-7 years the company can reach an international revenue of € 1 billion or more. “We have invested lots of time and energy in R&D, development of international markets and the set up of our newest robotised production facilities. Only this year we have started our broad sales activities and we are doing well. The high yields in energy per square metre offer many advantages. Especially when considering that a substantial part is delivered in the form of heat. This is applicable for heating and cooling. In situations with limited (roof) space our collectors are a productive solution to deliver the necessary solar powered energy. Because we have a business model for licensing out the production of Solarus collectors to local partners, we are able to fast scale up and start producing high volumes. For the coming two years we have planned five assembly plants outside Europe.”
ForestEffect Fund joined as investor this summer. This multi million investment fund, invests in companies that are a force for sustainable change in the agri-commodity sector. “Solarus is an investment that addresses the objective of the Fund as Solarus leads the energy transition by providing local renewable energy solutions for processing and storage.” Next to ForestEffect Fund also two industry based investors signed in: NASACA Smart Energy (a cooperation of NASA Holding, a Dutch based company investing internationally in fresh fruit production, logistic warehouse developments and renewable energy and Catena Investments, a Dutch venture capital firm active in the CleanTech, FinTech and Real Estate) and Ponzio Solar (the largest solar installation company in Switzerland). At the end of 2016 Solarus also attracted € 800,000 with a successful crowd funding campaign. And the management of Solarus also invested substantially in the recent round. During the summer of 2016 Solarus and its international consortium was awarded a € 2,7 million Eureka-grant to develop the product and its automated production lines in Venlo.
The number of staff of Solarus is growing and the team now consists of 30 people, located in Venlo (production/HQ), Gävle (Sweden, R&D). Cape Town (SAF, sales) and Chennai (India, sales). Recently the team welcomed Chief Commercial Officer Kees Onstein (a.o. founder of Solar Total), Director International Business Development Ron Coolen (former Business Manager Ricoh) and Director International Accounts Joost Brinkman (former Lead Sustainability Services at Accenture Benelux).
Market recognizes potential
Solarus originally from Sweden established its production facilities and headquarters in 2015 in Venlo (Netherlands) to set up a high tech factory for the production of hybrid solar power collectors. These so-called C-PVT systems have a peak performance of 750W/m2. This is the highest yield of solar energy in the market. In situations where there is a permanent need for heat (and/or cooling) is the Solarus PowerCollector instantly competitive with periods of return on investment between 3 to 7 years. The system has now been applied in small and larger hotels, hospitals, sport/wellness centres, (food) process industries, offices, residential projects and housing.
Especially in (urban) situations with limited (roof) space Solarus is relevant: with its high yield of energy the available space can be utilised maximally. The International energy Agency (IEA) in Paris already said in 2013 that hybrid PVT-technology is the best solution for energy generation in an urbanizing world.
From the start Solarus always had an international perspective, with a double mission: fighting energy poverty and decreasing CO2. Up till now some 1,500 systems are installed in South Africa, N/S/W-Europe, Turkey, India, Seychelles, etc. In these and other market Solarus is planning together with entrepreneurs and governments the set up of local assembly factories.