SOLAR MATERIALS to build industrial scale recycling plant for solar panels to increase the company’s annual recycling capacity to 10,000 tons

Magdeburg 04.06.2024 – SOLAR MATERIALS, a cleantech startup from Magdeburg for solar panel recycling, announced the successful closing of its EUR 12.2 million Series A round. With the funding, the company builds its first industrial sized recycling plant in Magdeburg and increases its recycling capacity to over 10,000 tons or 500,000 solar panels per year.

“The new plant will be commissioned around May 2025 at a new site in Magdeburg and will create around 20 new jobs in the region.” says co-founder Fridolin Franke. The plant will act as the company’s blueprint for the international rollout, as the volume of solar panel waste is growing exponentially globally. “We already plan to open a second site for the primary treatment of solar panels in southern Germany this year as we see increasing demand in Germany, as today’s largest solar panel recycling market” comments Fridolin Franke further.

The financing round was funded by the company’s existing investors bmp Ventures with the IBG funds, First Imagine!, and Katapult with an additional grant component of the EIC Accelerator.

Boris Dorin, Partner at First Imagine!, comments

“SOLAR MATERIALS could quickly position itself in the German recycling market, which is currently Europe’s largest market. This proofed the solution to be technically and commercially feasible. Since our investment into the up and running pilot, the company demonstrated its technology to be robust, scalable, and efficient to become a global solution. SOLAR MATERIALS underlines our mission to support great cleantech companies to create a sustainable future and build a circular economy.”

The investment into the first industrial recycling plant is the response to the rapidly increasing demand. Since November 2023, SOLAR MATERIALS recycles solar panels as a certified waste treatment company for solar panels and proofed their technology on commercial scale. “In the minute we were fully certified, we received overwhelming request for our recycling services and the recycled raw materials. With the current backlog of orders and request, recycling volumes already fill our capacity for the next year.” comments co-founder Dr. Jan-Philipp Mai.

Innovative solution for an urgent problem

Solar is one of the pillars of the energy transition and recycling solar panels plays a crucial role to achieve truly green solar energy. Over 100 million tons of solar panels are already installed, and they are an important source of raw materials. Today’s recycling processes are based on the traditional shredding and sorting recycling approach. While this allows glass, copper and aluminum to be recovered, the functional materials of the solar cells silicon and silver are lost. SOLAR MATERIALS has developed its own process to recover the previously lost raw materials silicon and silver.

David Stuck, Principal at bmp Ventures and the responsible investment manager, says

“SOLAR MATERIALS has succeeded in positioning itself as a leading technology player in an attractive growth market thanks to its professional setup, strong founders and its ESG and impact-compliant business model – keyword Circular Economy. SOLAR MATERIALS thus not only underpins our successful investment approach but can also make a significant contribution to the global and sustainable energy transition. The company’s ambitious expansion targets can be further accelerated with the conclusion of the Series A financing round. In addition, we will closely support the management and help develop the company to a new size level.”

Global perspective

As the volume of solar panel waste is rising globally, it becomes more and more important to establish collecting systems and recycling plants in other countries as well. A look at the overall balance sheet of SOLAR MATERIALS’ technology shows that cost-effectiveness and ecology are not mutually exclusive. Not only is the process economically sustainable, but the recycled raw materials require about 80% less energy than their primary production. Jan Bargel, co-founder & CTO explains “With the first of a kind (FOAK) industrial plant we will proof our technology to be easy to operate, highly scalable, and thus a perfect solution to tackle the global challenge.”

Carl Strøm Walton, Investment Director at Katapult VC, a leading Norwegian climate tech-focused fund and accelerator, adds

“Since originally investing in SOLAR MATERIALS back in 2022, we have worked closely with the team and become ever more impressed and convinced by their vision and the viability of their unique solution. The SOLAR MATERIALS solution can be game-changing in solving circularity of raw materials in the solar energy space. This Series A represents a critical inflection point in the journey as it paves the way for their industrial scale FOAK site which will act as the blueprint towards global expansion.”

With the financing round now completed, the company considers itself well equipped to respond to the growing demand and make solar energy a real green energy source.


“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101145463.”


About the IBG Funds

The IBG funds, headquartered in Magdeburg, are the venture capital funds of the country of Saxony-Anhalt – they provide capital to young, innovative technology companies with sustainable and above average growth potential, based in Saxony-Anhalt. By the end of 2023, IBG launched the new venture capital fund, RKF IV, with a volume of 63 million euros. The fund is financed by the state and the European Union and invests in innovative startups in Saxony-Anhalt in the seed, early stage, and expansion. The IBG funds are managed by bmp Ventures AG.

About bmp Ventures

With a track record of over 250 investments across nearly all technology segments, mainly in the early-stage phase, bmp Ventures is one of the most experienced venture capital investors in Germany. In addition to direct investments, bmp managed venture capital funds for institutions such as the KfW Banking Group and DEG, the German Investment and Development Corporation. Currently, bmp oversees the IBG funds in Saxony-Anhalt and employs approximately 20 experts across its Berlin and Magdeburg locations.

About Katapult

Katapult VC is a global investment company focusing on early stage impact driven technology startups. Over the last 7 years, Katapult has made 169 investments in impact tech startups from 47 different countries. Katapult has primarily invested within three verticals: Ocean, Climate and Africa. In 2021, Katapult launched the Katapult Foundation with the aim of building a larger network around impact investing. Katapult also hosts the annual Katapult Future Fest in Oslo, bringing together founders, investors and some of the most prominent figures within impact investment.

About First Imagine

First Imagine! is a European-based venture investor exclusively focused on the energy transition, covering a broad range of technologies from energy generation to transmission and distribution, to consumption and demand management. First Imagine! specifically targets startups at the early commercialization stage, primarily in Europe (EU, UK, Nordics) and Israel.

Established in 2016, First Imagine! has a distributed team with over 50 years of combined expertise in the power industry to help startups in the energy transition space to grow and thrive, while contributing to a more sustainable future.


The cleantech startup SOLAR MATERIALS develops technologies for recycling solar panels. With their patented recycling process, all raw materials of the solar modules to be recycled can be recovered economically. The focus is particularly on the functional materials silver and silicon as well as high-quality glass to close the raw material cycle of solar and contributes to a green energy supply.