An Australian scale-up behind the rapidly-deployable solar solution Maverick has successfully raised $12 million in a pre-Series B funding round led by one of the world's leading power companies The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) and Sydney-based Artesian Venture Capital.
Founded in 2013 by solar engineers Chris McGrath and Eden Tehan, 5B's latest funding round doubles the amount raised over the past year to $24 million, following a Series A raise of the same amount in mid-2020.
The latest raise was announced in late 2020 to accelerate 5B's technology development roadmap and expansion into new markets including the United States, Chile and India, as well as building the group's team that is now more than 100-strong.
The pre-Series B also received backing from accelerator Startmate, Beyond Zero Emissions chairperson Eytan Lenko, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Smart Energy Council director Simon Holmes à Court.
The Maverick solution is a modular, plug-and-play solar solution which is pre-fabricated in a factory and rapidly deployed on-site for accelerating, streamlining and reducing the cost of delivering solar projects.
"We are at the cusp of what will arguably be the next industrial revolution for the world, driven by ultra low-cost, massively abundant clean energy from solar PV[photovoltaic]. The only remaining question is not if, but how quickly, we will achieve this," says CEO Chris McGrath.
"Continued alignment with our vision and growing confidence in our ability to uniquely contribute to this from our investors and partners is enabling 5B to keep running as hard and fast as we all need to be together to realise this future."
The company's management is excited to welcome its newest group of investors including Malcolm Turnbull.
"5B is one of the most innovative Australian clean energy companies," says the former Prime Minister.
"Their Maverick technology is the keystone to unlocking the next generation of clean energy at the scale required to urgently address climate change," he says.
The name '5B' was coined by Eden Tehan in reference to the five billion years of sunshine we have left, motivating the company to "strive for the simplest, most effective ways to leverage this resource".
It is a vision that culminated in the first international project for the Maverick solution last year with AES Panamá deploying 2 MW in 10 working days. The partnership with AES involves a 100 MW global services and supply agreement, including another deployment in Panama as well as a the 10MW Los Andes solar facility in Chile's Atacama Desert.
"Solar is the most abundant clean energy source in the world, and 5B's innovative design produces twice the energy for any given area," AES CEO and president Andrés Gluski said following the Series A round last year.
"In addition, a project using 5B's technology can be built in a third of the time when compared with conventional solar. These significant advantages will help us meet our customers' growing needs in today's ever-changing environment."
Other milestones since the Series A include deploying a 12MW project in Adelaide for SA Water end customer Enerven at a peak rate of nearly 3 MW per week, while the technology will also be deployed Sun Cable's 10 GW Australia-ASEAN Power Link, which last year was awarded Major Project Facilitation Status by the Australian Government.
5B, whose Australian assembly partner is IXL Solar based in Adelaide, will also use some of the new funds to establish a clean energy campus at its headquarters in Sydney.
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