€20m solar power deal for young West of Ireland tech firm

11 Jun 2009

A young West of Ireland company that has produced what it says is the world’s most efficient solar hot-water panel has struck a deal worth €20m to supply solar-power technology to a major construction firm.

Surface Power, a developer and manufacturer of solar-power products based in Mayo, says it has agreed to supply the Moritz Group with its SP501 Solar Hot Water Collector over a five-year period.

The Moritz Group, a leading Irish-based distributor to the construction industry, employs more than 180 people in Ireland and a further 100 people indirectly through its various interests.

“The Moritz Group has an established distribution system and has approached the market in a professional way seeking out the best technologies, backed up with training options and support,” said Surface Power founder, John Quinn.

“This agreement provides us with a solid distribution channel in Ireland, enabling us to completely focus on our expansion efforts.

“Surface Power has already achieved product approval in over 25 countries, and expects to add the US, Canada and Australia over the coming months,” Quinn said.

The distribution agreement with the Moritz Group is expected to be the first of several agreements to be signed by Surface Power during 2009.

“The world market for the solar collector was worth in excess of US$10bn in 2008 and has grown by 300pc since 1998,” said Caroline McAndrew, Surface Power’s marketing manager.

“We expect the international home renovation market to be very strong during the next three years, as our collector is the only pre-packaged vacuum collector on the world market. This leads to quicker, simpler and cheaper installations,” she explained.

Surface Power estimates that the SP501 product, which has undergone six years of development and testing, has the potential to reduce domestic and commercial hot water bills by up to 70pc, if insulation standards meet new building regulations.

Independent certification by the world’s leading testing house has shown that when compared to other leading solar hot-water collectors, the collector was up to 131pc more efficient in morning and evening time and 76pc more efficient at midday.

“The Moritz Group was determined to secure distribution rights to what we believe is the most effective solar hot-water product in the market,” explained Moritz trading director, Dennis O’Connor.

“We recognise that solar technology is constantly evolving, and innovative and high-performance solutions such as the SP501 Solar Hot Water Collector system are necessary for us to stay competitive in this industry.

“The extensive certification, ground-breaking performance and R&D that went into the solar hot-water collector designed for the Irish climate has given us confidence to distribute the product to our customers.

“With building regulations making solar virtually mandatory and the retrofit market experiencing increased growth, we needed to secure distribution of a product that guarantees our customers the best Building Energy Rating (BER) on their homes.

“Through working with Surface Power Solar, we not only have sourced what we feel is the best retrofit solar hot-water technology on the world market, but one that has been researched, designed and developed by an Irish company. Supporting Irish jobs is an additional bonus for this deal,” O’Connor added.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Solar Power’s  P501 Solar Hot Water Collector, which the company says has the potential to reduce domestic and commercial hot water bills by up to 70pc