CoolSky in Newtownards has developed an innovative control system for solar thermal heating and is now marketing it abroad for both commercial and residential users.
The small company used an Invest NI Innovation Voucher to develop and test the new controller that is technically advanced but much easier to use than existing devices currently on the market for solar water heating systems.
CoolSky was formed in 2009 by a group of technicians, led by Kathy McVeigh, with vast experience in renewable energy, particularly solar thermal systems for heating hot water. They had identified a market opportunity for a device that would be easier to fit and use by installers, maintenance staff and owners.
Mrs McVeigh said: “Our controller has been designed to make installing, maintaining and operating solar heating systems easier than ever before and thereby to encourage more people to opt for this form of renewable energy. Our knowledge of the industry enabled us to identify a significant market opportunity for a ‘plug and play’ controller that was reliable and easy to operate.
“What we have achieved through the Innovation Voucher is the development of a solar controller that requires no monitoring and no complicated set-up. Its unique feature is the user interface, which clearly helps both installer and user to understand the function and status of their solar hot water systems. This is achieved through visual imaging, a design feature which makes the understanding of the controller intuitive.
“The Innovation Voucher was immensely beneficial in that it enabled us to access the University of Ulster‘s specialist indoor and outdoor solar testing facilities,” added Mrs McVeigh.”
Invest NI is also working with the company on the development and marketing of its solar technology.
Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technical, said: “This is a timely innovation in an industry which has been developing steadily and is poised for growth in line with the increasing focus on renewable technologies in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world.”
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