Solar Energy firm receives Carbon Trust cash boost

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 03 Dec 2009 21:40
Whitfield Solar get investment support

Fast growing UK developer of solar energy technology, Whitfield Solar, received further investment from Carbon Trust Investments to enable it to expand its workforce and build on existing commercial success in Spain.

Whitfield Solar is now looking to extend its sales strategy in both existing and emerging solar markets including Portugal, Greece, Italy and Australia for near term sales, with plans to have commercially available product in China and India by the end of 2010.

The investment is part of an overall injection of £2.7m co-led by Carbon Trust Investments Limited and a private syndicate of new investors and supported by existing investors the Cascade Fund and Kilsby Ltd.

Whitfield Solar has already identified significant interest in the Asia-Pacific market and the new funding will enable it to gear up for commercial roll-out. As well as bolstering the company's engineering and manufacturing capability, it will provide additional working capital and strengthen sales and marketing support.

The company aims to build its UK operation by attracting additional skills from established sectors such as automotive and consumer electronics.

Stephen Bates, Chief Executive at Whitfield Solar, said: "Since Whitfield Solar incorporated in 2004, we have proven the technology that came out of three decades of research into low-cost solar concentrators. Our concentrator platform offers a fast track to solar grid parity, allowing more cost effective deployment of high efficiency cells.

“Our lightweight platform creates the opportunity for installations where load capacity is a key issue, such as rooftops.

"We are now planning to tap into a wealth of commercial opportunities, both in Europe and farther afield. We are confident that this additional funding will provide the catalyst for us to grow the business in our existing European market and make significant inroads into the rapidly expanding solar market in Asia-Pacific."

Peter Linthwaite, Managing Partner of CT Investment Partners, said: "With Copenhagen talks set to kick-off next week it is vital that businesses globally recognise the opportunity that cutting carbon creates. Whitfield Solar is a great example of a British business that has developed, and proven, a technology with truly global application.

“We believe this is a genuinely exciting investment opportunity that underlines the potential for UK clean tech businesses to act as a driver of the global low carbon economy."

Whitfield Solar has successfully demonstrated its solar concentrator platform at test sites in Spain. Its solar concentrator launch product uses a fraction of the surface area of silicon solar cells that conventional Photo-Voltaic (PV) panels require, but delivers greater energy generation by tracking the sun's energy and concentrating it via an array of Fresnel lenses. Whitfield has one of the only commercially available roof top concentrator platforms on the market.

Whitfield Solar was advised by Strata Partners.

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