HyET Solar‘s wafer-thin solar film makes it possible to capture solar energy in many more places than with familiar panels. The Arnhem-based company has been working on it for a long time, but the foil is now on a breakthrough, as evidenced by a €29 million investment in the company that was announced last week.
The foil is not only more flexible but should eventually – with mass production – be able to compete on price with fixed panels. According to its makers, per unit of energy generated, the “Powerfoil” can be a quarter cheaper. And if the foil rolls are made on a really large scale, the price could even reach a third of conventional panels.
Half of the investment comes from commercial parties, the other half from Invest-NL. “Solar energy has the future,” top executive Rinke Zonneveld of Invest-NL announced on LinkedIn in response to the investment. “We think there is room and need for a new solar manufacturing industry in the Netherlands. Space because we are technologically ahead in niche markets. Necessity because we should not want dependence on China from strategic autonomy.”
The investment gives HyET Solar the financial clout to scale up its innovative thin film solar film. As an impact investor, Invest-NL says it is committed to a sustainable and innovative Netherlands. “We believe in the potential of local, sustainable energy solutions and see HyET Solar as a pioneer in this transition. Their technology offers a promising alternative to traditional solar panels and is an excellent example of how Dutch innovation can contribute to sustainability goals.” The investment aligns with the recent award from the National Growth Fund to the Dutch solar manufacturing industry, of which HyET Solar is a part.
A new production line in Arnhem
The €14.5 million invested by Invest-NL will enable HyET Solar to accelerate solar film production. This lightweight, flexible, and sustainable solar film is made from abundant amorphous silicon, offering a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional solar panels. The funds will be used to set up the final phase of Arnhem’s 40 MWp production facility. This will enable HyET Solar to facilitate the transition to more sustainable energy solutions in the Netherlands and abroad. The next step for HyET Solar is to scale up its production capacity internationally. With the construction of a 300 MWp production line and plans for an IPO within two years, the company is experiencing serious growth.
Venture debt as an instrument
It is the first time for Invest-NL to use “venture debt” as a financing instrument. “This enables scale-ups like HyET Solar to achieve growth without substantial dilution of existing shareholders,” Invest-NL said in a press release. “It shows that we want to be flexible and innovative in supporting the energy transition and technological innovation in the Netherlands.”
Wouter van Westenbrugge, Senior Investment Manager at Invest-NL, called the move an appreciation for the Dutch consortium behind HyET Solar. “This investment is an important step in reshoring solar production to the Netherlands and Europe. Moreover, it sets the tone for a more sustainable, material-efficient future in the solar industry.”