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29 June, 2018 - 11:33 By Tony Quested

US on the radar as Polysolar wows the world

The world is opening up for a Cambridge company whose technology converts windows into solar panels.

Polysolar tells Business Weekly that the US is on its export radar following successful projects in territories such as Uruguay, Mexico and the UAE.

The CleanTech business has already beaten its crowdfunding target on Crowdcube; seeking to raise £750k by the end of June it had accumulated £805,210 at the time of writing on Tuesday morning with five days to go to pass the magic £1 million mark.

Polysolar’s start-out vision was to see Britain’s estimated one billion windows become the power generators of the future, harnessing solar energy and eventually replacing conventional carbon emitting energy sources. And then roll out the technology globally, which is already happening.

The firm’s solar PV glass is being hailed as the first truly transparent alternative for conventional architectural façade materials, generating renewable energy without impacting building aesthetics.  

A typical 1200mm x 600m 20% transparent Polysolar panel can generate on average 5kWh of power each month, while for a building like the Shard, which has enough glass to surface eight football fields, Polysolar glass would generate some 2,500MWh/year enough, combined with a reduction in air-conditioning loads, to create a zero-carbon building.

The market opportunity, according to independent analysis, could be $26 billion of building integrated photovoltaics by 2020 – still just a small fraction of the overall glass market.

Hamish Watson, CEO of Polysolar, said: “We strongly feel that everyone should have the opportunity to invest in the future of energy generation and saving our planet. It has taken time, effort, investment and expertise to get to make windows that generates power.  

“Over £1.5 million has been invested to date in the development of our technology and we are leaders in the next generation of totally clear solar PV window glass. There’s a clear market opportunity in every sense.”

Watson founded Polysolar before solar power became mainstream, to solve an increasing problem faced by developers – wanting to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of buildings without impacting the functionality and aesthetics of the architecture.

The emerging technology of organic photovoltaics and thin-film photovoltaics was identified having the opportunity of delivering light transmission combined with cost effective power generation at a marginal additional cost in construction and without wasting resources. 
The impact of the financial crisis on 2008 meant that Polysolar had to pursue its development programme without external investment, while taking longer to get to the technology commercialised;  it meant that Polysolar fully understood the manufacturing and market requirements. The result is a lean but profitable leadership in the global market today.

Polysolar was established in 2007 and is supported by a Technology Strategy Board and leading materials and glass manufacturing partners. The firm’s technology has been praised for its environmental and aesthetic benefits.
The company has developed a range of innovate products incorporating its solar PV glass, with installations to date include the UK’s first solar powered glass bus shelter at Canary Wharf, petrol station canopies for Sainsbury’s, building facades and roofing for Network Rail as well as energy-generating domestic carports, conservatories, and greenhouses.

Polysolar manufactures its products in Europe and Asia, with all the secondary fabrication undertake in the UK to deliver cost effective solutions to the construction industry and consumers alike. 

• PHOTOGRAPH: The Polysolar transparent solar bus shelter in Canary Wharf, the first of its kind in the UK. 

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