18 Aug Solarus wins €2,68 million funding in Eureka Eurostars programme
SOLARUS WINS €2,68 MILLION FUNDING IN EUREKA EUROSTARS PROGRAMME TO DEVELOP AUTOMATED PRODUCTION OF SOLAR POWERCOLLECTOR
VENLO (Netherlands)/GÄVLE (Sweden) A team of Solarus and its partners will be receiving funding of € 2,684 million to develop the design of the Solarus PowerCollector for automated production including the development of the automated production line. The funding is committed by the Eurostars program that is backed by Eureka (35 participating countries) and European Commission. The R&D Department of Solarus in Gävle (Sweden) and Blue Engineering, the Venlo-based Dutch engineering partner of Solarus, are taking the lead in this project. Other partners in the project are TÜV Cyprus, the Research Centre for Sustainable Energy (FOSS), Johnsun Heaters Ltd (all from Cyprus), University of Gävle (Sweden) and Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal).
Gaining further market credibility
The funding for a project period of three year means a very strong impulse to the design for mass production of Solarus revolutionary PowerCollector, a hybrid (photovoltaic and heat) solar collector that at peak produces three to four times more energy than a standard PV-panel. The project also includes a certification by TÜV of the final design of the PowerCollector, thus gaining further market credibility.
Consistent quality while producing high volumes
Solarus today has a unique patented design for a concentrating Photovoltaic/Thermal solar collector (producing heat & electricity from the same box). This design has been installed at more than fifty sites worldwide, is tested successfully and, if produced in large scale, is expected to out-compete other collectors in €/total kWh produced. The main goals of the Eureka-project are to finalize the product design, so that it can be produced in an automated manner and to create the automated manufacturing methods. Robotized production safeguards consistent quality while producing high volumes. These are crucial steps to consolidate cost competitiveness. After finalization of the project, the production costs of the collector are estimated to be a factor 3 lower than the current level.
The heart of the PowerCollector is the receiver where PV-cells are mounted and heat is collected. Automating the production of this receiver is key to obtain both quality and quantity levels to reach the market. The automation will entail developing unique machinery: Solarus novel solution for PV cell encapsulation with liquid silicon is a clear example of this. Additional goals are to increase electrical and thermal performance, reach new markets (e.g. develop a concentrator specific for low latitudes) since the consortium already has an order of a production line at low latitudes (South Africa), increasing durability, making the collector as easy to install as possible (identified by IEA and ESTIF as one of the major bottlenecks with solar thermal) and product certification (fundamental for mass sales).
Solarus’ R&D director João Gomes who is leading the project, stressed that selection by the Eureka committee is a confirmation of the concept of the PowerCollector, since less than 15% actually get financed, after being reviewed by Eurostars Experts. We will integrate all available knowledge on solar energy and production into our product. We outsmart regular standard PV panels who simply leave the heat factor out of the equation and miss out on the bigger part of incoming solar energy. The whole team sees the admission to the Eureka program as recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit of the Solarus management and the professional competences of all the partners.
Solarus is a private company founded in 2006 and it develops, produces and sells hybrid solar PowerCollectors with a peak efficiency up to 70%. The company is headquartered in Venlo (The Netherlands) and has an R&D centre in Gävle (Sweden). Solarus works worldwide with local distributors and installers and is now active in Europe, (South) Africa, India, Brazil and Turkey. The company’s mission is ‘Solar power for the people’. By being good Solarus is doing good, which is a reason for Solarus to be a certified BCorp.