UK social innovation board Nesta was today revealed to have invested £1 million in the UK solar tech business Naked Energy, as part of a series B syndication that's aiming to raise at least £10 million.
The series B round is still ongoing but it's already lured investment from UK banking group Barclays and ELM Companies, a utility grid management business operating in the US.
Naked Energy's Virtu solar energy technology produces heat using thermal energy from the sun to boil water to a temperature of up to 90°C.
Solar thermal is considered an option to decarbonise heavy heating users like industrial plants. Unlike traditional PV solar panels, the use of solar thermal doesn't produce electricity which means it needs less sunlight to operate, a potential draw in colder northern European climates and for smaller rooftops with less space for harvesting solar energy.
According to the International Energy Agency, around 30% of the world's buildings could use solar thermal by 2050.
To capitalise on this trend Naked Energy is also launching a new product - the VirtuPVT - that combines thermal energy with PV solar panels for producing electricity, using modular designs to scrape sunlight for both heat and power from a single source.
Nesta's senior investment director, Alex Hook, says there's an opportunity for Naked Energy's Virtu product to disrupt the solar energy sector.
"This sits at the heart of Nesta's goal to decarbonise UK households and we look forward to working hand in hand with Naked Energy to accelerate its growth and impact," Hook added.
Naked Energy's inaugural solar thermal offering, VirtuHOT, was recognised by third-party certification board TÜV Rheinland last year as meeting its gold standard for solar panel implementation.
Christophe Williams, Naked Energy's founding CEO, added: "At Naked Energy, we’re always looking for investors who share our long-term green vision, and Nesta is clearly aligned with our mission to deliver climate impact at scale.
"We’re delighted to be supported by Nesta’s Impact Investment team. With Nesta’s help we’re looking forward to being able to increase the rate at which we decarbonise heat - an issue that we need to urgently address in order to reach net zero.”
The series B funding has been earmarked to help expand Naked Energy's team and fuel product development. It comes after a growth round for the business which raised £5.3 million in late-2019.