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  • NV3 Team

AE Solar Horizon Grabs €3.5M to Support the Energy Independence of the Balkans

AE Solar Horizon is a newly established company planning to build 3 innovative plants to produce Tier-1 photovoltaic (PV) panels in the Balkans. These panels provide a long-term solution for a more environment-friendly way of energy supply. The initial capital of €3.5M is provided by the Bulgarian VC fund New Vision 3 with €1M, German solar industry leader AE Solar GmbH with €2M, Bulgarian engineering company ELIA with €500K, and energy specialists Ilko Yotzev and Evgeni Stefanov, the company’s executives and co-founders.

The panels to be manufactured in the plants are of the latest generation and are one of the first of their kind, including ones that can produce both electric and heating energy. They have higher productivity and better heat resistance.

As AE Solar Horizon is seeking regional impact, the company is planning to build 3 photovoltaic production plants in Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Greece. The factories will have the capacity to produce over 3 GWp of solar panels. Working at full speed, panels will produce 4TWh of energy every year in the region. Due to the lower cost of renewable energy, implementing such panels can save up to €1B per year for governments and businesses.

A look into AE Solar Horizon’s roadmap for the next 12 months shows three main goals on the development side. By September 2023, the company expects the construction of the plant in Bulgaria to be in progress and to have its first factory installed and operating in Tetovo, North Macedonia. The location for the Greek factory should be selected by that time as well.

“To fulfill those goals, we needed strong partners, so we started talking to some of the global leaders. After a few meetings with AE Solar GmbH, we realized they’re right for us - a Bloomberg Tier 1 German manufacturer with more than 15 years of experience in the solar industry, operating factories in 3 other countries. The same was the case for ELIA, an engineering company specialized in the energy power industry, and more than a decade of experience in those types of projects,” Ilko Yotzev, co-founder of AE Solar Horizon, explains about selecting its partners.

Tackling the energy crisis in a sustainable way

Natural gas and electricity prices have skyrocketed in the past few months due to the war in Ukraine and other factors. This shows the need, especially in Europe, to find a more sustainable way of generating energy. The EU is pushing forward the Green Deal agenda and more and more companies are following decarbonization practices in an effort to accelerate the transition to alternative sources of energy. One of the key steps is the use of renewable energy sources like the sun. But a component, missing in this transition, is solar panels, whose supply is scarce due to the higher demand from governments and businesses and the broken supply chains.

“Seeing how the market is developing and what actions different players are taking, we decided to start working on a project that can help to have a cleaner planet. Realizing all governments rely on solar power to conduct the green transformation, we decided to help our region, and Europe, by developing factories in the Balkans”, Ilko Yotzev, co-founder of AE Solar Horizon explains.

Yotzev highlights that the idea behind AE Solar Horizon is to provide a solution to support the energy independence of the whole region and do it in a sustainable way. The solar panel plants will be powered by renewable energy sources.

Expansion lies ahead

“The €3.5M investment in the company is a good start. In the months to come, our aim is to raise additional funds, reaching €100M by the end of next year. A further step will be an IPO, as we are already in talks with different European stock exchanges”, Ilko Yotzev explains.

Besides the financing, the development of these plants also requires a large amount of human capital, such as experts and engineers. AE Solar Horizon aims to partner with universities in close proximity to the plants to help students gain the needed practical experience in these fields.

Playing the role of a catalyst for building a sustainable Bulgarian economy is another aspect of the development of AE Solar Horizon.

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New Vision 3 is a leading Bulgarian VC fund, focused on investing in local companies that add value to the local economy. It seeks to invest in early or start-up stage companies with an equity investment of €0.1M - €1M. New Vision 3 looks to support new & innovative business models or technologies. To join NV3’s portfolio, startups need to have a validated value proposition by their customers.

AE Solar GmbH is a high-technology Bloomberg Tier 1 German manufacturer with more than 15 years of experience in the solar industry (research, development, production, and sales), operating also facilities in China, Georgia, and Turkey. AE Solar is a leading brand in the renewable energy industry providing high-quality new renewable energy products and services since 2003. The company specializes in PV technology innovation, applications, and systems development. AE Solar products are present in 95+ countries.

ELIA AD is a Bulgarian engineering company in the power generation industry producing and installing electric power equipment since 1995 for more than 300 customers in Bulgaria and abroad. Its factory for electrical equipment based in Dobrich operates since 2002 and complies with the highest standards for quality, safety, and environmental protection. ELIA produces equipment with the Sivacon trademark under a franchising agreement with Siemens AG. Other partners include Schneider Electric Bulgaria, ABB, and Ganz-Instrument Hungary.

An investor in AE Solar Horizon is New Vision 3 Fund, which is co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds under the Operational Programme for Innovation and Competitiveness 2014-2020 managed by the Fund of Funds in Bulgaria.

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