FundsUp sat with Perine Fleury and Siemen Brinksma from Biosphere Solar. They are ready to give an innovative boost to the solar energy industry with an open-source, fair, and circular solar panel.
A Dutch version of this article can be read on the website of our partner: Emerce.
Could you introduce yourself?
“Together with Tim Kaasjager, we are the co-founders of Biosphere Solar. We have experience in solar energy engineering, plastic recycling, and battery engineering. Tim is the head of product development, and Perine builds the network and handles execution. Siemen manages the finances and writes the strategy.”
What was the reason to start?
“Impact – we see that the energy industry is essential to the transition to a sustainable society. If we can’t make it circular, it will be tough. We all want to make the world a better place and start with one of the
most challenging aspects of our time seemed like a pretty cool idea!”
Is Biosphere’s panel the first circular solar panel?
“Circular” is a buzzword, and people throw it around quite often. A few companies are working on recyclable solar panels, which is excellent, but recycling is lower on the circularity ladder than we aim for.
Recycling should be one of the last options if you cannot reuse, repair, or refurbish a product.
We are not the first recyclable solar panel, but we are the first demountable and repairable solar panel, which we consider to be as circular as possible.”
Where is the company now? You said you just got your first client.
“Our initial market consists of public-private organizations. We have just been admitted to the SiR (Start-up in Residence) program organized by Intergov, where we are preparing to take the Municipality of The Hague as a launch client. We’re currently in pre-revenue, but we’re working hard on a first little product called the Development Kit, which will give us some early generate turnover.”
“The development kit will be a small solar panel that people can assemble themselves. With it, they can learn about solar energy and use it to charge their phones. The kit aims to start our first turnover and learn how to make and sell products. We will launch the development kit this summer, so we’ll have to wait a while to see.”
What about the current competitive situation? You open-source the technology, right?
“With open sourcing, we want to encourage other players to become more circular, which means more ‘competition.’ means. However, this also means that we are forced to get ahead of the competition and do precisely what we do best – which other companies may need help to do. In this way, we are also open to cooperation with other companies that make solar panels circular instead of fighting against them.
Through an open IP strategy, we can also constantly innovate and build with other players worldwide. For example – Apollon Solar is our competitor with a similar mission. By working together, there is a greater chance of success in bringing circular panels to the market, so we turn competition into cooperation.”
What kind of funding round are you looking for, and what will it be used for? What kind of investors do you want?
We are looking for 600k from impact-focused and hands-on investors who want to join us on the impact goal and be actively involved in the challenge of growing this young company and making the solar energy industry circular. The solar panels will eventually be used as regular solar panels, but we will use this round to target our first customers, the public-private organizations. After this, we will raise a follow-up investment to go to the broader market.
For this, our target group is a niche of well-to-do households with extra attention to the environment. Investors with experience in the industry are, therefore, a big plus.