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UK solar inventions could reduce bills

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UK solar inventions could reduce bills

Two new solar products from British companies could cut bills for those who cannot put panels on their roof.

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Solivus's solar sculpture and Filia's solar blinds could provide households an estimated 10-30% of their electricity.

The products use a new flexible thin solar film claimed to be more effective when partially shaded or in low light than traditional silicon panels.

Interest in home solar has grown as energy prices have risen by over 50%.

Eight years in the making, the barrel-shaped Solivus Arc, the first household product from the Kent-based start-up, can be set up to directly charge an electric car or help power a home.

Aiming to supply an average of 1,000 kWh a year in the UK, Solivus will guarantee the £3,500 Arc for 20 years and plans to let buyers pay in instalments.

The cost would be the "equivalent of 21p per kWh - and that will be locked-in for the next 20 years… then, after that, it's free, obviously". chief executive Jo Parker-Swift said.

But unless buyers also invest in battery-management systems to store the solar electricity - typically during the brightest hours of the day - any unused will have to be, at best, sold back to the grid - at a fraction of the savings they would have made using the power themselves.

Unlike many other solar products, the Arc is made without using any toxic or rare earth materials.

Wrapped in an upgradeable lightweight film, multiple layers capture different parts of the light spectrum.

The film, made by German company Heliatek, can also be attached to most roofs, unlike conventional heavier panels, which require supported roofs.

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