Innogy takes increased 20% stake in solar foil specialist Heliatek

In an attempt to further strengthen its solar muscle, RWE renewables and grids subsidiary Innogy is raising its stake in organic solar foil-maker Heliatek.

Innogy, French utility Engie, French bank BNP Paribas, chemicals firm BASF, as well as the companies Aqton and Wellington Partners, are jointly injecting €80m ($89m) into Heliatek, which it will use for a rapid expansion of its German production capacity.

The transaction will widen Innogy's stake in the PV foil maker to 20% from previously 8%, an Innogy press official told Recharge.

Heliatek's foils can be used in building facades or laminated on glass surfaces. The company with the fresh financing plans to speed up the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Dresden that can produce up to one million square meters of high-tech solar foils per year.

"The high-tech foils by Heliatek create entirely new ways of use in the solar industry," says Innogy chief executive Peter Terium. "Heliatek fits perfectly in our business strategy."

The widening of Innogy's stake in Heliatek comes after the utility recently announced a deal to acquire PV developer Belectric Solar & Battery Holding. As part of its global solar expansion move, the utility also opened an office in Dubai last year.

RWE towards year-end plans to list Innogy on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, selling shares from a 10% capital increase at the unit, as well as a still unspecified number of shares from RWE's holdings.

Innogy is also one of Europe's biggest offshore wind operators, and has just inaugurated an operation and maintenance base for the 332MW Nordsee One offshore array in the German North Sea port town of Norddeich.

Innogy and majority-owner Northland Power from Canada plan to commission Nordsee One next year, and have already erected the monopile foundations for 54 of Senvion's 6.2M126 offshore turbines.