The U.S. solar industry finds itself at a crucial juncture in history, thanks to the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which marks the nation’s inaugural clean energy industrial policy. German companies like NexWafe, that designs, develops, and pilots a proprietary process to produce ultra-thin, high-efficiency, monocrystalline green solar wafers to make photovoltaics more sustainable and efficient, are ready to support American and European efforts to re-shore domestic solar wafer manufacturing and cell production by increasing supply-chain sourcing diversity and resilience.
Is in this context that this Freiburg-based company has announced it secured €30 million to accelerate the construction of its first commercial-scale facility in Bitterfeld, Germany, to fabricate the company’s green solar wafers. The funds come from NexWafe’s current group of investors, including Reliance New Energy Limited, Aramco Ventures and ATHOS Venture GmbH, as well as new investors, including the Honorable Malcolm Turnbull AC and Keshik Capital, led by Alex Turnbull. NexWafe anticipates raising additional funding in the second half of this year.
Davor Sutija, CEO of NexWafe, commented: “This investment marks the start of NexWafe’s plan to raise substantially larger funds in the second half of 2023. The funds will be used to break ground on NexWafe’s first commercial facility to speed the renewable energy transition with more efficient, lower cost, green solar wafers for the world’s photovoltaic manufacturers.”
In parallel, NexWafe has agreed to work with Aramco Ventures on a future green solar wafer manufacturing facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The collaborative agreement will include participation from the firm’s $1.5 billion Sustainability fund. The NexWafe process also reduces CO2 emissions, resulting in a solar-energy supply chain that is genuinely green.
Founded in 2015, the company is a spin-off of Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and is also a member of the Ultra Low-Carbon Solar Alliance, Solar Power Europe, and the European Solar Manufacturing Council.
NexWafe’s unique, patented green solar wafer manufacturing solution simplifies polysilicon production and reduces energy use and production time. This results in drastically lowered production costs for n-type monocrystalline wafers used for the majority of high-performing solar modules. The company’s novel manufacturing method delivers wafers that are engineered to the requirements of each customer and already achieving parity with commercially available Czochralski (CZ) wafers. Providing an opportunity to optimize the performance a chosen cell design enables solar cell makers to ultimately deliver higher efficiencies.
According to the company, its continuous direct gas-to-wafer manufacturing process also minimizes waste, resulting in wafers that are 30% less expensive than conventional wafers. NexWafe’s in-line, ultra-scalable process shatters cost-down roadmap barriers and inherently supports the industry’s extraordinary growth as the transition to solar power accelerates worldwide.