Natural Technology Developments shines with new solar panel technology

A Northumberland solar technology company is aiming to put its new solar panel product on the renewable technology map

Jo Walters and Paul Laidler

A Northumberland solar technology company which attracted significant funding from investors to develop a pioneering new solar panel is aiming to put the product on the renewable technology map.

Natural Technology Developments Ltd (NTD), based in Ponteland, secured £300,000 from North investment fund Northstar Ventures, innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board and a private investor, to design, develop and manufacture its new product Solar Angel in the North East.

The breakthrough design has been hailed by its creators as the future generation of solar technology.

Described as an alternative to conventional solar panels and solar thermal products, those behind the new design have combined technologies from both systems to allow consumers to generate both electricity and hot water from the sun’s rays in one panel.

Designers claim Solar Angel’s “unique” cooling system allows it to generate more electricity than a traditional solar panel – also known as a solar PV (photovoltaics).

The product is being field tested at the company’s eco office in Ponteland as well as undergoing laboratory tests prior to its final certification, which will take place in the UK and San Jose in California later this year.

As a new firm, NTD are yet to pull in significant revenues yet have high hopes that Solar Angel, set to launch next year, will help them post sales of £2.1m by 2015 projected to increase to £4.5m in 2016.

NTD’s managing director Paul Laidler said: “What makes Solar Angel unique is not only that it is manufactured in the UK, but also that we have overcome many problems facing competitors who are trying to produce similar hybrid technologies by creating a lighter-weight, more compact design that is higher performing and easier to install.

“Once certified, Solar Angel will better match the growing clean-tech demands of the UK and international markets.

“It is the slimmest profile PV-T being tested and it can be fully integrated with other natural technologies such as wind turbines.

“By installing the panels in our own purpose-made eco office, we can gather accurate real-time data of how it is performing and we have been working closely with IPSoL Energy, the UK’s only accredited test house, who is helping us to test the product with a view to obtaining our full certification.”

Once the product passes the various testing processes, Solar Angel is expected to be fully MCS quality-marked and Solar Keymark certified by January next year.

NTD is about to embark on second stage investment fund-raising to grow the business and market the product to the rest of the world with its official launch at the EcoBuild exhibition in London next March.

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