Meet Japan Energy Challenge 2019 Cohort: Heliatek

Our new series of blog posts introduces this year’s participants of Japan Energy Challenge. In this edition, we speak with Aline Mueller, sales representative at Heliatek, to discuss the role her company can play in the future of Japan’s energy market.


Both small businesses and individual consumers wanting to generate their own renewable electricity are currently constrained by a lack of space available in most cities and metropolitan areas. Heliatek make Organic Solar Films, a flexible and lightweight solar panel for the building industry that can be installed on many more surfaces than traditional PV modules. In this article we’ll try to shed some light into what makes Heliatek’s solution stand out from the rest.


Hi Aline, can you tell us a bit about the company and its founders?


Heliatek is specialized in the production of organic Solar Films based on proprietary IP.  The company is a spin-off of two leading Technical universities TU Dresden and TU Ulm, and was founded in 2006. Our Headquarters is based in Dresden, a city well known as the leading organic electronic cluster in Europe. We have two development centres in Germany, one in Dresden (Physics) and the other in Ulm (Chemistry).


How does your solution fit within the wider trends of Digitalisation and Decarbonisation in the energy sector?


We believe that our thin, flexible and organic solar solutions Heliasol® and Heliafilm® can be one answer to the energy transition process. As a retrofit solution Heliatek organic solar films transform buildings into small energy generators enabling decentralized electricity generation where it is needed.

With the lowest Carbon Footprint: <10 g CO2 / kWh of all solar solutions, Heliatek organic solar films are the fastest and easiest way to reduce the carbon footprint of a building.


Are there milestones you are particularly proud to have achieved as a company?


Since its creation in 2006, Heliatek has acquired valuable experiences and sharpened its expertise. With the implementation of our first pilot-production line Fab1 in 2012 and the realization of more than 30 pilot projects all over the world since then, Heliatek has acquired valuable returns-of-experience. In August 2019 our new, 60M€, one of a kind Fab2 factory will be inaugurated and our market entrance is planned for Q3 2020. Our state of the art production line will lead us to become OPV manufacturer N°1 worldwide.


Let’s look at Japan Energy Challenge’s scope: what specifically attracted you about the prospect of expanding to the Japanese market?


We decided to participate in JEC for the following reasons:

  • Cultural reasons: Japan is a new world for Heliatek. Although, we have taken baby steps in Asia (Singapore and S. Korea) we believe that it would be much safer to enter the market through a competition that can bridge the cultural difference and bring us in contact with large energy players of the country
  • Economic reasons: As the following graph shows, the total cost for solar installations remains high in Japan even for utility scale applications. As we have a rather new technology that needs to go through the learning curve in order to improve the cost of manufacturing, we are looking forward to expand to a market with higher prices of total installation costs in the beginning.
Source: IRENA

Combining the two factors above we are convinced that JEC is the proper gateway for Heliatek to expand in Japan.


And finally, how will your solution promote the expansion and modernisation of the Japanese energy sector?


HeliaSol is the most sustainable way of producing electricity. We believe that a country with a highly-urbanized environment and limitations on ground utility scale PV will make the perfect market for our technology. Given the additional benefits of lightweight modules and ease of installation we are convinced that Heliatek’s technology has much to offer in Japan’s energy transition process, and can increase the share of renewables in the country‘s energy mix.

Finally yet importantly, we plan to offer to our commercial partners the possibility of local content by receiving Heliafilm® rolls that will go through local finishing in order turning them to Heliasol® modules. This is an additional benefit of our technology and market strategy.

Heliatek will be taking part in Japan Energy Challenge in London this year, you can read about the other companies taking part in this year’s edition here. You can also find out more about the program, ventures and sponsors by clicking the links.



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