Why Heliatek is creating so much buzz
German photovoltaic solar film manufacturer Heliatek has just announced an €80 million round of finance in order to expand its production capacity by a million square metres a year.
This round comprises €42 million in equity, €20 million in debt and about €18 million in subsidies, with investors including the European Investment Bank and a wealth of high-profile companies. Among those investing include leading energy firm SE, ENGIE, BNP Paribas and CEE Group, an investment company of Lampe Equity Management specialized in renewable energy.
The existing investors, AQTON, BASF, eCAPITAL, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Innogy Venture Capital, TUDAG and Wellington Partners also participated in this round of funding.
Heliatek plans to install its new manufacturing roll-to-roll facility on its site in Dresden over the next 18 months. It will offer a capacity of one million m² p.a. of solar films when fully ramped up. The company will continue in parallel its worldwide roll out of its HeliaFilm products to the building material and the automotive industry. These expansions should create more than 50 new high-tech jobs in Saxony.
The company has won numerous awards for its innovations. This includes the GreenTec Award in the “Production” category. Heliatek won the award for its innovative, vacuum roll-to-roll production process used to manufacture HeliaFilm®, an organic solar film applied mainly on building façades.
Last year at the Elektra European Electronics Industry Awards ceremony in London, Heliatek received the Renewable Energy Design Award. The organizers commented that Heliatek’s technology has achieved a record of 12 percent efficiency for organic photovoltaics and is now being commercialised for large area applications. The judges applaud Heliatek for partnering with industrial glass and building materials companies to speed the adoption of its technology in sustainable, net-zero energy buildings, which included glass installations in the Belgium pavilion at Expo Milano 2015.
Commenting on the most recent funding news, Thibaud Le Séguillon, Heliatek CEO, said: “We are very excited to have successfully completed this financing round. This allows us to strengthen our world leadership in organic solar film and to accelerate our expansion. We will continue to lead the way in enabling distributed energy generation on industrial and commercial building.
“We will follow our strategy by expanding the BIOPV – Building Integrated Organic Photovoltaic - market through supplying large quantities of our HeliaFilms® to our customers in the building and construction material field.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”