Posted on June 11, 2018 by staff

Tech firm is turning skyscrapers into ‘power stations’


The explosion in glass-fronted skyscrapers could be good news for the solar power sector, according to a fast-growing tech business.

Polysolar is a Cambridge-based cleantech company which makes windows that generate clean renewable energy and is hoping to raise at least £1.5m to scale up its operations and expand internationally.

Inspired by the transparent technology in the Hollywood sci-fi film Minority Report,  Hamish Watson launched the business in 2007 to help reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions of buildings.

The company has already invested £1.5m in product development and manufacturing over the last decade, thanks to support from Innovate UK, and has now launched an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise the cash needed for its next stage of growth.

“Our target on Crowdcube is £750,000 but we’re aiming to overfund to at least £1.5m,” founder and CEO Watson told BusinessCloud.

“It’s growth capital that we’re looking for here so the money is primarily to grow the business and will allow us to grow both within the UK and overseas as well.

“The issue we have is that we’re growing very rapidly both in terms of the projects we’re working on as well as the value of those projects, and we therefore need to scale up our operations.

“There are over 500 skyscrapers being planned or built in London at the moment in the next 10 years and that represents a significant opportunity for us.”

Polysolar has enjoyed a 400 per cent surge in the last three years from £86,000 in 2016 to a projected £407,000 this year – and is showing no signs of slowing down.

“We’ve got a pipeline of projects worth £14m over the next three years,” Watson said. “The opportunity is huge, if you think of all the windows in the world and facades of buildings in the world.

“The glazing industry is worth $100bn and the PV industry is worth $100bn – the bit in between is where we operate which is forecast to grow to something like $26bn by 2022.”

Polysolar’s technology has already been installed at a Sainsbury’s petrol station and a solar-powered bus station at Canary Wharf but Watson says this is the tip of the iceberg as his ambition is to be a leader in the solar PV glass market.

“We have the best products and the best systems solutions and we’re also expanding our operations to incorporate things like battery storage and electric car charging,” he said.

“We intend to be the main player in this field and be seen not only as a solar glass company but as a general power company.”