Concentrating photovoltaics is gaining momentum with an expected industry growth exceeding 400% for the current year. Following this trend, Concentrator Optics raised €3.5 million in equity, debt and grant financing. Capricorn Cleantech Fund, Leuven, Belgium, and the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) contributed to the equity raise. The proceeds shall be used for installing a 40 MW silicone-on-glass lens production line, for organizational development and for fuelling its continued commercial growth.
With concentrating photovoltaics (CPV), sunlight is concentrated by factor of 500 to 1,200 employing flat Fresnel lenses in order to generate electricity by using very small and highly efficient cells. This technology enjoys rapid growth due to the double efficiency compared with traditional photo-voltaic systems in sunny climates with high direct irradiation levels.
Concentrator Optics is one of the few global manufacturers of Fresnel lenses and is the only company to offer lenses in both PMMA as silicone-on-glass technology. Dr. Ralf Leutz, co-CEO and one of the founders of Concentrator Optics, appreciates the capital influx: “CPV is ready for main-stream and this investment allows us to accelerate our growth. We deliver production lines for many millions of lens parquets to be installed in solar power plants around the world”.
Paul Decraemer, Head of the Cleantech Investment Practice at Capricorn Venture Partners, ex-plains the investment rationale: “Concentrator Optics possesses outstanding know-how in design and production of Fresnel lenses and is positioned right at the bottleneck of the upcoming CPV industry. The growth of this industry will generate a high demand for Fresnel lenses and Concentra-tor Optics is ready to deliver”.
Bettina Krüger-Derst, Senior Investment Manager of the ERP-Startfonds, confirms the interest of KfW: “Germany is the birth place for new technologies and engineering solutions addressing climate change. Concentrator Optics is a global innovator in the emerging HCPV market confirming the excellent German track record in renewable energy technologies.”