SolarPrint raises €1m to develop printed energy technology

6 Dec 2012

Andre Fernon, Roy Horgan and Dr Mazhar Bari of SolarPrint

Dublin start-up SolarPrint has raised €1m in funding to develop its printed solar technology that converts light from any source into energy.

The investment comes from Bank of Ireland Seed Capital, Kernel Capital and a group of private investors.

Founded in 2008, by Dr Mazhar Bari, Andre Fernon and Roy Horgan, the Enterprise Ireland-supported company is developing Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC), a printable photovoltaic technology which converts light from any source into energy. 

SolarPrint’s technology platform provides an autonomous power source for intelligent wireless devices, removing the constraints of mains power wiring or disposable battery replacement.

Applications for SolarPrint’s technology

The company’s target market is powering wireless devices for building energy management.

Buildings currently account for more than 40pc of the world’s total energy usage.

Other applications for the company’s technology include electronic shelf displays, building controls, medical sensors and industrial sensors.

Product trials have shown that SolarPrint’s technology can harvest up to 50pc more power in indoor lighting conditions than the best alternative and SolarPrint’s technology roadmap is set to double this advantage.

SolarPrint aims to be first to market with a DSSC product tuned for the indoor wireless sensor market. 

The replacement of disposable batteries for wireless applications creates major growth opportunities in ambient energy harvesting. BCC Research estimates that this opportunity will be worth more than €1bn by 2017, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of more than 40pc.

SolarPrint is now engaged in market seeding commercial projects, including collaborations with Analog Devices, Gas Sensing Solutions and EnOcean. Based in its pilot production facility in Sandyford, Dublin, the company has 17 full-time employees.

“This is a very innovative and exciting company led by a strong management team,” said John O’Dea, manager of High Potential Start-ups at Enterprise Ireland.

“SolarPrint has developed a highly competitive solution that meets specific energy management needs, a fast-growing sector with significant potential for increased exports and job creation. 

“This investment round will now position them to grow their business. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to have supported SolarPrint and is working closely with the company on their continued international growth.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years