By Karen Peattie

AN Edinburgh-based company making flat-pack solar thermal collectors has joined a new accelerator programme at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) in Dundee, as it rolls out plans to provide affordable clean energy to some of the world’s poorest communities.

SolarisKit, which says its product is the first of its type in the world, is one of eight start-ups to join the programme at MSIP, described as a “low-carbon” campus and a joint venture between Michelin, Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government. It is located on the site of the former Michelin tyre factory.

Currently based at Heriot-Watt University, SolarisKit will set up a new assembly line for its product which will provide affordable hot water systems and clean energy for millions of people living across sub-Saharan Africa, as well as parts of Asia and South America.

Faisal Ghani, founder and chief executive of SolarisKit, said: “Our plan is to set up a new manufacturing assembly line by the end of January to produce an initial run of 100 flat-packable solar thermal units destined for a trial project we are undertaking in Rwanda to demonstrate both the environmental and socio-economic impact achieved from the supply of affordable clean energy.

“In our first year of manufacture, we aim to employ an initial eight staff, doubling the size of the workforce over the following two years.”

Assembled in 30 minutes, the SolarisKit equipment can convert sunlight efficiently into hot water to meet the needs of most homes or businesses, with the potential to save energy costs of up to 70 per cent.

Greig Coull, MSIP chief executive, described SolarisKit as “an exciting start-up company with huge growth potential”. He said: “Its solar technology is another example of a new company contributing to and delivering towards ambitious climate change plans around the world, creating carbon neutral economic growth.

“SolarisKit not only fits well with the scope of the ambition at MSIP, its ethos of creating inclusive places for people to live very much matches our own. We believe in its mission to deliver affordable hot water systems and clean energy for those living in developing nations, and will support SolarisKit as much as we can.”