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Solar thermal hot water technology receives £250,000 UK grant

UK innovation agency will provide funds to help test solar thermal collector technology in Rwanda that is intended to drastically reduce cost and carbon emissions from heating water

An innovative flat-pack solar thermal collector intended to revolutionise hot water generation in developing countries has received £250,000 of funding from Innovate UK.

Scotland-based Solariskit, which has claimed to have created a world first technology, said it intends to use the funding to support trials of the technology in Rwanda. The test will seek to prove if the technology can curb the energy costs and carbon emissions from vital heating functions.

A successful trial of the technology could see the technology adopted for use in similar set ups across Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to the developer.

Solariskit has claimed that the technology can be assembled in just 30 minutes in order to convert sunlight into hot water. The developer said that the technology has proven capable of heating water up to 50 deg C in ‘most standard weather conditions’. It said that this temperature would be suitable for showering and laundry needs.

The technology’s developer added, “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.”

Faisal Ghani, founder and chief executive of Solariskit, said that heating was estimated to account for 40 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions related to energy use. Mr Ghani expressed concern that emissions from developing countries were potentially exceeding those of more developed economies.

He said, “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 per of a household’s income might be spent on energy. 70 per cent of this demand 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.”

Solariskit has planned to install up to 100 of its collectors in Rwanda to trial their effectiveness.

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