Flexible Solar Panel Startup Active Surfaces Secures $5.6 Million

Active Surfaces, a U.S.-based flexible solar panel startup, secured $5.6 million in an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round. Safar Partners, a deep tech venture capital fund, led the funding round. QVT, Lendlease, Type One Ventures, Umami Capital, Sabanci Climate Ventures, New Climate Ventures, SeaX Ventures, and others formed the additional participants in the round. These participants range from institutional VCs to corporate backers.

Spun out of MIT, the company is developing lightweight, flexible solar panels that can be integrated into virtually any surface, having applications from small consumer products to large commercial, office, and industrial buildings.

“Active Surfaces is pioneering a transformation in the built environment,” said Tommaso Boralevi, Technology & Innovation Director Europe at the Milan Innovation District (MIND) established by Lendlease, a global construction, development, and investment company. “At Lendlease, we are committed to advancing sustainable urbanization, and our investment in Active Surfaces represents a significant step towards integrating novel capabilities directly into the fabric of future developments.”

“This funding will enable us to expand our R&D efforts, scale up production, and bring our cutting-edge solar solutions to market more rapidly,” said Richard Swartwout, an MIT PhD and co-founder and CTO of Active Surfaces.

The Co-founder of Active Surfaces further highlighted that the company’s flexible, thin film “solar 2.0” technologies will deliver lower costs, higher efficiency, and better versatility compared to current panels.

The company plans to use the initial funding to scale its laboratory-fabricated 4-by-4-inch photovoltaic devices with breakthroughs in industrial roll-to-roll semiconductor printing technologies, enabling mass production of thin, flexible solar materials of any size.

According to Mercom’s Q1 2024 Solar Funding and M&A report, global VC funding for the solar sector in Q1 2024 came to $406 million in 13 deals, an 81% decline YoY compared to $2.1 billion raised in 18 deals in Q1 2023. Funding declined 68% QoQ compared to the $1.3 billion raised in 19 deals in Q4 2023.