Swedish company Sol Voltaics has acquired enough funding to take the its high-efficiency 'Solink' gallium arsenide nanomaterial into pilot production.

The company reached its own funding goals which were set earlier in the year, having added a SEK61 million (US$9.4 million) equity round to SEK40 million (US$6.2 million) from the Swedish Energy Agency, conditionally loaned to Sol Voltaics in June. This brings total funding up to SEK102 million (US$15.6 million).

Norwegian investment company Umoe led the equity round, joining companies including Nano Future Invest, Foundation Asset Management and Industrifonden as major shareholders. Sol Voltaics is now a development stage company. Umoe previously made an incubation level investment in the company.

Erik Sauar, former chief technology officer at REC, became an investor in the company in June. He is now joined as an investor by Kent Janer, chief executive officer of Nektar Asset Management.

Sol Voltaics claims that its new Solink gallium arsenide additive, which contains nanowaires, for crystalline silicon or thin-film, could increase efficiency of PV modules by up to 25% from current levels. At present, producing the advanced nanomaterial is expensive and difficult to implement into use.

Sol Voltaics believes its new nanomaterials production process, called Aerotaxy, will "dramatically" reduce the cost of manufacturing, with Solink applied to solar panels toward the end of the manufacturing process. The Aerotaxy process and Solink nanomaterial were invented by a research team headed by Sol Voltaics founder Lars Samuelson, who is also a professor at Lund University.  

It is expected that Sol Voltaics will produce Solink for provision to manufacturers of solar cells, who will be able to apply the nanomaterial to their own product.

Solink hope to be able to produce functioning solar cells from gallium arsenide nanowires for demonstration purposes by the end of this year. Following this, Sol Voltaics expect to move into commercial production in 2015, to enter volume production during 2016.

Jens Ullveit-Moe chief executive officer of Umoe said: “The combination of shortage of energy in the world and global warming presents a unique long term opportunity of capitalising on a trend towards alternative energy. The technology that Sol Voltaics is developing promises to be disruptive in the solar market. Umoe is proud to be one of Sol Voltaics’ major backers.”

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