NEXT Energy Technologies Inc., makers of a proprietary transparent photovoltaic coating designed to transform commercial windows into energy-producing solar panels, announced it has raised $13.4 million in a Series C round of funding.
Viracon, an architectural glass fabricator and subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, is among those lead investors. Others include Alon Blue Square Israel, a group with major business activities and holdings across the real estate development and management market as well as energy, retail and public transportation sectors, predominantly in Israel; GEAR Innovation Network, the innovation arm of Golden Energy and Resources Ltd., one of the largest vertically-integrated mining, energy and resources groups in Southeast Asia and a part of the Sinar Mas Group; and the real estate family office Rincon Advisors.
According to the announcement, the new investors provide NEXT with broad access and insight into the global commercial real estate market and architecture, engineering and construction communities.
“Workplaces of the future must evolve into safer, healthier and more climate-compliant spaces,” said Daniel Emmett, CEO of NEXT. “As we emerge from COVID-19, workers returning to their offices are actively re-evaluating the role offices and buildings play in their lives; and architects, developers and employers are listening.”
The buildings sector accounts for about 76% of electricity use and 40% of all U.S. primary energy use and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to U.S. government statistics. NEXT has developed low-cost, printable, transparent coatings it says are seamlessly integrated into windows, enabling them to function like solar panels – harvesting and converting sunlight into renewable energy to power commercial buildings.
“New building materials and innovative designs are now required to enable buildings to meet net-zero and sustainability requirements. We believe our photovoltaic windows are ideally aligned to support the global energy transition to renewables, and this new funding is accelerating our plans,” Emmett said.
Proceeds from this financing round have accelerated the transition to large-area coating for commercialization, pilot installations, durability testing and industry certification in preparation for use by leading window manufacturers, according to the company.
“An undeniable takeaway from 2020 is that health, climate change, and equity are inseparably linked,” said Andy Cohen, CEO of Gensler and a board member at NEXT. “As we move on from lockdown living, the places we occupy must support well-being at an individual level. On a larger scale, buildings must be sustainable, show returns, and positively impact their neighborhoods and the global ecosystems to which they contribute. The breakthrough window solutions from NEXT will be a step towards helping us meet that goal.”