QD Solar raises $2.55 mln to advance solar power technology

QD Solar Inc, a Canadian startup created by the University of Toronto and MaRS Innovation, has obtained $2.55 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). Founded in 2014, QD Solar has developed solar photovoltaic technology that can absorb infrared light otherwise wasted by conventional solar panels. The partnership with SDTC will help bring the technology to market, the company said. QD Solar received seed-stage financing from MaRS Innovation in 2014 and 2015.

(Correction: It was previously reported by PE Hub Canada that Saudi Arabia’s KAUST Innovation Fund invested in QD Solar Inc. The company reports this was not the case.)


QD Solar receives $2.55 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)

TORONTO (March 17, 2016) — QD Solar, a Canadian technology company created by the University of Toronto (U of T) and MaRS Innovation, has received $2.55 million from the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

QD Solar’s funding — announced March 4, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development — will galvanize a larger $8.7 million project to revolutionize conventional solar panels that waste a large portion of the available energy in sunlight because their silicon solar cells can’t capture the sun’s infrared light energy.

QD Solar’s proprietary quantum dot-based solar cells use nano-engineered, low-cost materials that can absorb this otherwise wasted infrared light. The world-leading underlying solar technology was developed in the Nanomaterials for Energy Laboratory, part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at U of T. Combining QD Solar’s product into solar panels with existing solar cells boosts overall power generation by 20 per cent.

“Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is incredibly proud to support QD Solar” said Leah Lawrence, president and CEO of SDTC. “Our mission is to help Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs move their ground-breaking technologies to commercialization by bridging the funding gap between research and market entry. This infrared solar cell is the kind of technology that has the potential to generate jobs, growth and export opportunities, and to bring lasting economic, environmental and health benefits to Canadians and the world.”

“With the SDTC funding, QD Solar has the resources to advance, develop, test and de-risk our solar cells while concurrently developing and scaling up the manufacturing processes needed to economically bring this technology to market,” says Dan Shea, CEO of QD Solar, a former executive with Celestica and Blackberry with extensive experience in the cleantech sector. “The SDTC’s endorsement is great news for our game-changing technology and the business opportunity it presents for Canadian energy and manufacturing.”

“MaRS Innovation worked with the University of Toronto’s Innovations & Partnership Office to develop a strong patent portfolio while advancing this technology with $600,000 in proof-of-principle and seed funding,” says Joel Liederman, vice-president, Physical Sciences, for MaRS Innovation. “We also developed a compelling go-to-market strategy to enter this uniquely challenging sector, made investor introductions and helped to recruit Dan Shea to the company. After concluding the work funded by this SDTC investment, we’re confident QD Solar’s solar cells will be market ready for private sector investment and product launch. I’d also like to recognize Sjoerd Hoogland and David Asgeirsson for their work in launching this exciting company.”

“Researchers at U of T are regularly turning their discoveries into marketable inventions,” said Professor Vivek Goel, the university’s vice-president, research and innovation. “I’m very pleased to see the support that QD Solar is receiving from SDTC to continue the important work the company is doing in the field of clean technology.”

About QD Solar

QD Solar will be a world leading provider of photovoltaic products by addressing the key market drivers that affect solar panel manufacturers and their customers. We are developing and delivering, in partnership with other technology companies, the world’s best performance, lowest cost solar photovoltaic technology, through the use of our proprietary infrared-converting solar cells deployed in concert with the standard crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells in today’s solar modules/panels.

About Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) acts as a primary catalyst in building a sustainable development technology industry in Canada, funding and supporting Canadian cleantech projects across a number of sectors. SDTC invests in Canadian companies that through their innovative technologies bring positive contributions to Canada: creating quality jobs, driving economic growth, and preserving our environment. SDTC is a foundation funded by the Government of Canada.

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 leading academic institutions in Ontario. It provides investors and licensees with a single point to access technology assets emerging from its members, who receive $1.4 billion in annual research and development funding. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence, by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, and by its 15 member institutions, MI is a transformational partnership that turns research strengths into commercial opportunities through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation.

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mario Anzuoni