BOCA RATON, Fla., Nov. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- AEI HorizonX, AE Industrial Partners' venture capital investment platform formed in partnership with The Boeing Company, today announced an investment in Solestial, Inc. ("Solestial" or the "Company"), a solar energy company for space. AEI HorizonX invested alongside Airbus Ventures, GPVC, Stellar Ventures, Industrious Ventures, and others in the $10 million oversubscribed seed round. This also marked the first investment from AEI HorizonX's second venture fund ("Fund II"), which supports promising start-ups in future mobility, space, sustainability, digital enterprise applications, networks, and security.
Solestial's solar panels can be produced at scale using automated production methods at 90 percent lower cost than solar panels widely used by today's satellite industry. This best-in-class silicon photovoltaic technology, which is optimized for space, also delivers orbital reliability of at least 10 years in low Earth orbit (LEO). Economical solar panels with scalable manufacturing capability are critical to meeting the demand of the satellite industry, which is projected to grow from 5,000 operational satellites to 100,000 or more by 2030, a 40% CAGR.1 Solestial will use the fresh capital to ramp up production and customer engagement capabilities as the company expands ground and flight testing in parallel, and also plans additional investments in R&D and go-to-market functions.
"Solestial is on a mission to become the solar energy company for space, and investment from AEI HorizonX will help us scale our breakthrough technology quickly and efficiently," said Stanislau Herasimenka, co-founder and CEO of Solestial. "We deeply and humbly appreciate the support of the AEI HorizonX team, and we couldn't be more thrilled to get to work on this essential next phase."
"We are excited to partner with the Solestial team as they look to change the paradigm for satellite manufacturers and usher in a new era of space-based power generation," said Brian Schettler, Partner and Head of AEI HorizonX. "Solestial's combination of unique technology, a skilled team, and strong customer focus are hallmarks of the companies we aim to partner with in Fund II."
AEI HorizonX Fund II is focused on partnering with founders transforming aerospace and industrial markets – including those focused on mobility, space, sustainability, enterprise digital applications, networks and security. Fund II is a new $250M venture fund open to a broader set of limited partners, formed in partnership with private equity firm, AE Industrial Partners, and anchored by a $50 million investment from the Boeing Company.
Solestial's technology has been under development for more than a decade, beginning its life at Arizona State University where the Company was first conceived as Regher Solar. The Company's high-efficiency silicon solar cells are ultrathin and lightweight, self-curing radiation damage at normal operating temperatures of 80°C or below, without additional hardware requirements. This breakthrough self-curing capability, unmatched in the industry, allows Solestial cells to achieve minimal degradation over decades of life in space. The new approach to radiation hardening also enables innovative proprietary packaging technology, resulting in a thin, lightweight panel that is optimized for long missions in LEO.
Solestial's technological breakthroughs are unlocking tremendous commercial demand. In just the last year, Solestial has signed letters of intent (LOIs) totaling hundreds of millions of dollars with a variety of commercial customers, ranging from startups to major defense primes. This new commercial demand builds on a foundation of more than $2.5 million in SBIR contracts with NASA, NSF, and other government agencies.
To learn more about how Solestial is accelerating breakthrough technology development in space solar energy, please visit https://solestial.com/.
Solestial, Inc. is the solar energy company for space. Solestial's core technology is a breakthrough ultra-thin silicon solar cell that can self-cure radiation damage at normal operating temperatures in space, packaged in a flexible, lightweight panel designed to achieve minimum degradation for up to 10 years in LEO. Solestial panels can be mass-produced using automated machines resulting in costs 90% lower than incumbent technologies, with virtually unlimited manufacturing capacity. From today's satellite constellations and research projects to tomorrow's utility-scale energy infrastructure and services in space, Solestial is powering the new space economy.
AEI HorizonX was formed as Boeing's corporate venture capital arm in 2017 and is now managed by AE Industrial Partners, a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power & utility services, and specialty industrial markets, with $5 billion of assets under management.
AEI HorizonX is an active participant in venture capital within its core strategic areas of focus, investing in more than 50 startups globally and building numerous relationships and partnerships across the aerospace, technology, and investing ecosystem. AE Industrial Partners invests in market-leading companies that can benefit from its deep industry knowledge, operating experience, and relationships throughout its target markets. AE Industrial Partners is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment and the ILPA Diversity in Action initiative. Learn more at www.aeroequity.com/horizon-x/.
1 Projections from the Beyond Earth Institute
SOURCE AEI HorizonX; Solestial, Inc.