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UK solar firm aims for new global markets

Whitfield Solar ConcentratorsUK-based Whitfield Solar is looking to take its workforce and sales to new markets, including Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Australia.

By the end of next year, the fast-growing developer of solar energy technology also aims to have its products commercially available in both India and China.

Whitfield Solar’s expansion into Spain was made possible with the help of funding from Carbon Trust Investments Limited. The investment is part of an overall injection of £2.7 million 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.

“Our concentrator platform offers a fast track to solar grid parity, allowing more cost effective deployment of high efficiency cells,” said Stephen Bates, chief executive of Whitfield Solar. “Our lightweight platform creates the opportunity for installations where load capacity is a key issue, such as rooftops.”

Bates added, “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.”

“With Copenhagen talks set to kick off next week, it is vital that businesses globally recognise the opportunity that cutting carbon creates,” said Peter Linthwaite, managing partner of Carbon Trust Investment Partners. “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 photovoltaic 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.

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