Under this fundraising programme, French bank Bpifrance is investing via its FIEE fund dedicated to energy and the environment, alongside Newheat's main original shareholders Noria and Etchart.
Newheat, which has six solar heat plants in operation and under construction, is the French leader of a market which, although still a niche, is set to grow strongly, as it offers a key decarbonisation solution for large thermal energy consumers, such as manufacturers, communities and large greenhouse installations.
The company provides comprehensive decarbonisation solutions combining solar thermal technology, waste heat recovery, short- and long-term thermal storage and heat pumps. Thanks to its significant R&D effort, the Bordeaux-based company has twice been a winner of the "I-nov" Innovation Competition funded by the Investments for the Future programme (PIA).
Newheat was founded in 2015 and is now a leading company in solar thermal energy in France. Of the six solar heat plants of over 1000 sq m in France, four have been built and are operated by Newheat (two on district heating networks and two on industrial sites), and the construction of two further plants is due to start in the coming months, giving the company a total 40 MW of installed capacity.
In a first fundraising in 2017, the company raised 1.8 million euros to accelerate its development, finance its first solar thermal plants and further its R&D work; in 2020, it secured 15 million euros in funding to finalize five heat production plants.
This second 7 million euro fundraising round will enable Newheat to:
Pursue its recruitment, R&D and sales deployment activities;
Confirm its position as an integrated provider of a "turnkey" heat production solution for its clients, by having the equity necessary to remain the majority owner of its projects. Newheat develops, designs, finances, builds and operates its plants to provide clients with directly competitive renewable heat, in return for a 15- to 25-year commitment to purchase;
Confirm its international ambitions following the signing of a first project abroad, in Croatia. Decarbomalt Croatia, which will avoid 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, was selected by the EU Innovation Fund which has particularly demanding award criteria.
The company, which currently employs 22 staff, plans to recruit an additional 10 people over the next two years to support French and international project development.
In addition to further investments from its original partners - the investment company Noria and the industrial group Etchart - Newheat welcomed the French bank Bpifrance on board as a new investment partner, via its FIEE fund dedicated to energy and the environment.
This fundraising will contribute to developing a still largely unrecognised lever of energy transition, which nevertheless meets a need accounting for nearly half of French energy consumption - renewable heat.
Among the renewable heat production solutions, solar thermal technology is particularly virtuous, using a local and unlimited resource, with the best carbon footprint of the renewable energies, generating no local emissions or nuisances for residents and minimising the impact on natural resources.
“We are very happy with this fundraising, which means that we can continue stepping up our development, and welcome a new key shareholder, Bpifrance, whose industrial vision and intrinsic values are fully in line with our business model” said Hugues Defréville, CEO and co-founder of Newheat. “Decarbonising the heat sector, whether for industry or district heating networks, is one of the main challenges in the fight against global warming in which France and Europe are already far behind schedule. There is an urgent need to accelerate the development of our renewable, competitive and virtuous heat supply solutions, and thus offer an energy alternative to build a sustainable future."
Samia Ben Jemaa, Investment Director at Bpifrance added that the decarbonisation of industry inevitably requires comprehensive and innovative renewable heat production solutions like those that Newheat knows how to develop.
“This investment matches perfectly the investment policy of the climate bank Bpifrance and the FIEE fund” said Ms Jemaa. “Decarbonising industry is indeed a strategic priority for us at the heart of today and tomorrow's climate challenges. We are indeed delighted to support Newheat, which is already a leader in its market, in this new phase of its development in France and abroad, alongside its original partners.”
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