CLEANTECH start-up SolarisKit Limited, creator of the world’s first flat-packable solar thermal collector, has secured around £250k of funding from Innovate UK, the United Kingdom’s innovation Agency through its Energy Catalyst Programme.
The funds will aid further development of its solar technology and commence pilot trials in Rwanda, where solar thermal collectors can be used to create a hot water system designed to lower household energy costs and carbon emissions.
SolarisKit, which had already secured £20,000 cash and £9,000 in-kind support by winning the Converge Impact Challenge last year, is on a mission to provide affordable, clean heat to millions of people across the globe, but in particular, those living across sub Saharan Africa, as well as parts of Asia and Latin America.
“Heating currently accounts for around 40% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and has reached the point where carbon emissions from developing countries exceeds those from its modern counterparts,” according to SolarisKit Founder and CEO, Faisal Ghani.
“By focusing on the development of low-cost, high-value solar technology, our goal is to lower global carbon emissions while helping to improve the lives of millions of people in the developing world.
“For example, In Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, up to 40% of a household’s income might be spent on energy – 70% of which is just to heat water. This is a significant cost to poor households and a strain on grids which are already struggling to meet demand in many parts of Africa.
By the end of this trial project, we aim to install up to 100 of our collectors in Rwanda to demonstrate both the environmental and socio-economic impact achieved from the supply of affordable clean energy.”
Thanks to its design, SolarisKit can significantly reduce the cost to purchase, transport, and install a solar hot water system. It is small, lightweight and can be transported by bicycle or motorcycle – which might present a potential business opportunity for local entrepreneurs, who could start their own clean energy business with just a bicycle and trailer.
Assembled in 30 minutes, the SolarisKit solar collector can convert sunlight efficiently into hot water to meet the needs of most homes or businesses, with the potential to save energy costs of up to 70%. In most standard weather conditions, the SolarisKit is capable of heating water to temperatures of up to 50 degrees C, perfect for normal showering and laundry requirements.
Sunlight enters the collector through its transparent side panels and strikes the black, internal coil, which is then heated through solar radiation. Water is then circulated through the coil using a small pump, heated and stored in an insulated water tank for later use.
SolarisKit hopes to begin the trials in September 2020.