The solar energy sector is always searching for new technological approaches to fully exhaust the potential of alternative power generation. Today, thinly-coated solar modules make it possible to generate efficient, cost-effective and flexible energy from sunlight.
Sulfurcell, a company from Berlin, has been developing this innovative technology since 2001, winning the Innovation Award Berlin-Brandenburg for its efforts in 2005. The thin film solar modules produced by Sulfurcell are not just extremely efficient but also have many uses such as on the roofs or facades of buildings. They are mainly applied where high efficiency and an aesthetic appearance are required.
Sulfurcell is one of leading manufacturers of thin film solar modules today. This success story started with just a rough production concept developed by Dr. Nikolaus Meyer and Ulfert Rühle in cooperation with Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB).
Strong financing partners and advisors were found
At the time the company was established, it lacked sufficient capital to develop the thin film solar module technology up to a point it was ready to be launched in the market. But it was not long until the venture capital firm Ventegis, the private equity firm IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft and the strategic investors Vattenfall and Gaz de France came on board as financing partners and business advisors. Sulfurcell was able to construct the pilot production and start producing solar modules a year later. The company received a total of EUR 25 million for this venture. In 2005, the hard work finally paid off: Sulfurcell presented its first marketable solar modules at the European photovoltaic conference in Barcelona. In the following year, the company started marketing its products via renowned distributors. From then on, the only way was up.
Since the beginning of 2010, Sulfurcell has been producing solar modules at a new plant in Berlin-Adlershof Technology Park. When the corner stone was laid in February 2009, founder and CEO of Sulfurcell Nikolaus Meyer was optimistic about the future: “For us, the new building represents an important step forward. Now we are able to increase our production capacity from 3 MW to 50 MW annually.” The team has since grown to 250 people. The new production plant shows off the purely aesthetical advantages of the innovative technology as well as its trendsetting application. The solar modules in a discrete black design fit seamlessly into the architecture of the building and make it entire self-sufficient in terms of energy.
Technological leadership and global growth
The development of Sulfurcell is a success story that will continue in the form of global expansion. The growth of the company is based on its technological leadership in the thin film photovoltaic sector. The new production plant is another step towards achieving ambitious growth targets. It was made possible with the help of Ventegis and IBB. “Since we first started working together, Ventegis and IBB have done a great job. These two partners are important to the success of Sulfurcell,” says founder Dr. Nikolaus Meyer.