About the founder: The owner and business entreperner Eric R Hawkins has 43 yrs experiance in start ups, with 14 to date since the age of 27. Also part of the Green Solutions USA team with an office in Shanghai http://usgreensolutions.us/index.php/about/
I was born in Norwich, Norfolk, UK in 1947. My mother was from 3 generations of farmers and my father a coal miner before he signed up to the 2nd world war, followed by the Korean war and Palestine, who I am very proud of forever and a day having been decorated with 11 gallantry medals
I left school with a basic education at the age of 15 yrs old, deciding to sign up to a 5 yrs apprentership as a Commis Chef in a well established upmarket restaurant in Norwich. This was best decision of my life at that time, not knowing where the future would take me.
By 20 yrs of age I was working in a Swiss Hotel in Lausanne, then Verbia (Ski resort) and back to Lausanne for the summer season. After 2 yrs in Switzerland on returning to the UK, I had secured a head chef job in a NEW hotel in Gibraltar followed by agreeing to a 50% partner in a restaurant in Marbella, Spain the year after.
On returning to the UK in 1970, I soon secured a head chef position in a restaurant in central Norwich. Two years on I was a director of a food retail company, but after 2 years I returned to being chef until 27 yrs old
After 12 years as a Chef, I opened my first of 3 retail shops selling fresh fruit and vegetables, and often educating people on the best way to cook them.
From the sale 2 yrs later I purchased my first house which needed completely refurbishing, which is how I educated myself in all aspects of the building services industry.
After a year building a property repair/refurbishment business, I opened a plumbing and heating business employing professional trade’s people, followed by the opening of a luxury bathroom/kitchen showroom which was later sold in the recession of 1991.
It was at this time I moved into the field of water and energy saving technologies.
A new business was established in Bournemouth (Quality Services Ltd) offering the first of many NEW products, one of which I designed and arranged to be manufactured was a luxury off set shower tray. This was followed by a Multi Fuel Thermal Store hot water cylinder.
By accident, I began to research solar water heating collectors as a pre-heat to my Thermal Store design due to the problems of the incoming freezing cold water during long winter periods.
In 1993 after a number of visits to Cyprus, I shipped my first 40ft container of environmental products at a time, when being a foreign businessman in Cyprus was Illegal.
My 5 yrs in Cyprus, taught me much of what I know today which included the importing of evacuated tube collectors from Japan followed by bare evacuated tubes from China, for my own thermo siphon solar system design I was able to export to a company in Malta.
After agreeing to a business offer from a British businessman, I returned to the UK in 1998 having established a solar water heating business with two Cypriot friends including the manufacture of my Thermal Stores which I later started to import into the UK.
While in Cyprus I was testing both flat plates, heat pipe tube and batch water heating collectors through the summer hot sun and cold winters over the 5 yrs. On my return to the UK I was appointed the UK agent for SUNDA (a Daimler Benze Aerospace JV, with SUNPO, China) having set up "The Global Warming Solutions Centre" in Dorset, UK.
For many years since 1999, I had been back and forth to China that began with SUNDA in Beijing until 2002. It was at this time and problems with the SUNDA tube collectors, that I started to look for another manufacture, first in Austria and then back to China.
In 2003, after being contacted by a young Australian working for a Chinese promoter of China Made Products, who was seeking my help to develop a solar thermal collector for exporting to Australia through Made In China.Com he was already working for.
The new joint venture to develop a high quality heat pipe tube collector started with the name Focus Technology, but later changed to the name APRICUS.
After months of resolving the many technical and packing/shipping problems as the importer to the UK, the Apricus brand was certified under the EU Solar certification "Solar Key Mark" followed by testing in the USA to gain a USA certification
A signed agreement between the now CEO Mr Mick Humphries of Apricus provided my UK company Powertech Solar with the rights to begin sales into the USA, Europe, Africa with the UK as the head office.
My success in proving I could sell into the USA, Sth Africa and into Europe and the Middle East from the UK, led me to design my own brand named Suntech Solar, I owned 100% in 2007/8.
The banking crises and recession brought to an end both the UK distribution import business as well as the China manufacturing/export business at a very high cost to me.
In 2010 A new chapter in my life began without any team or business costs to worry about.
My CV and skills gained over my 43 years working for myself, as my own boss making my own decisions, good and bad, for other young people worldwide to follow
Designing and developing solar thermal collectors in China. Following up with the tooling to manufacturing and exporting.
Being the owner of any new business, you develop skills in marketing the product and sales. These skills have been extended into Europe, China and the USA.
Educating and training skilled and non-skilled people in all the areas of solar water heating installations and related technologies like solar PV and Micro Wind power.
Many years’ experience preparing for exhibitions, setting up of the stand and delivering the technical information to those visiting the stand towards securing sales.
My first exhibition in this field was in 1988 at Interbuild. Over the years I have covered our own sales exhibitions in South Africa, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Colorado, Washington, Cyprus and Beijing China.
Very good at delivering power point presentations direct or through a translator - from China to USA.
Have prepared and delivered presentations to students at Universities in UK and USA.
Very good team player, able to work alongside people from all ethnic minorities whatever their colour or religion.
Extensive experience living and working in other countries developing imports and exports.
Good initiative, keen to identify new products and opportunities.
Personable and presentable, able to fit in comfortably within any professional environment.
Fully Computer literate, programmes include Word, PowerPoint, Windows, Pm6, Paintbrush, Photoshop, and XL Internet Explorer.
Adaptable to change, flexible and highly self-motivated, able to work long and unsociable hours and willing to work away from home if situation necessitates.
Ability to work under extreme pressure anywhere in the world.
Strong degree of empathy. Quick to absorb information and implement change. Love working in areas of new innovation where in depth knowledge of the product is needed to engage with potential buyers
I have used my NEW house since 2001 to demonstrate how 44 tube heat pipe collector plumbed into a 250 litre thermal store can provide support heating in the winter, with on demand mains hot water, while in the summer months, 90% of the homes hot water is from solar thermal with the gas boiler switched off.
Winter time in the south of the UK is from November until the end of March.
Over the past 5 years, the south of the UK has experienced a lot more snow and freezing weather from November until late March.
This house like millions, is gas central heated, with the boiler set to come on at 7.30am to heat the 250 litre thermal store tank direct, located in the roof space to 63c. At 7.45, the central heating pump switches on and starts to circulate the stores water around the 12 steel radiators.
The 14 year old house is double insulated in the loft with glass wool and expanded foam boards, then boarded out for walking on.
When the weather is freezing and overcast with no sun, the gas boiler is on all day now I work from home. The wireless thermostat in the hall area is set at 21.5c from 7.45 to 8.30am, from then on set at 20c to 4.30pm, then back to 21.5c. The gas boiler and the heat input from SWH system is circulated direct through the radiators through the whole of the winter period.
By the end of February, the gas boiler is reset to switch off at 8.30am and back on at 4.30pm. As the days get longer, the boiler will come on later. The ducted 4.6kW air to water heat pump located in the loft space, supports day time solar thermal input.
The Apricus 44 heat pipe tube solar array is the TAX FREE heat input every time the sky is clear or part cloudy however freezing cold it is outside. Flat plate collectors are a waste of time for space heating support, whatever you are told by the flat plate industry.
The following figures I copied down to prove that from March onwards a heat pump and an array of evacuated tube heat pipes can maintain a comfortable home temperature.
The gas boiler was switched off at 8.30am and the heat pump switched on, was a Sunday and a day of clear blue skies, with an outside temperature of 6-10c. The programmer was reset at 20c down from 21.5c. Through a digital power meter, the electricity consumption from the heat pump and three circulating pumps was £0.18p an hour based on an electricity cost per kW of £0.13p. At 11am, the room thermostat was showing 19.5c.
The temperature in the solar header was constant at 54c and passing heated water into the thermal store supporting the heat pump, at a running temperature of 48c.
The solar input through a SOREL controller shows 2,600 watts an hour.
By lunch time, the house temperature reached 20c and by 1pm the tank was up to 55c, at which time the heat pump shut down, leaving the solar thermal array to continue pumping hot water into the thermal store.
The blue sky days lasted for 3 days, which demonstrated the cost effectiveness of a heat pump and solar thermal collectors to heat the home during the day with 50% of that heat coming from only 44 heat pipe tubes.
When we returned back to cloudy over cast and still very cold days, the heat pump alone could not maintain the homes temperature above 18.5c, with no gas boiler back up, to prove the point.
From our past 12 years of benefitting from 80% of solar heated water in summer months, with solar heating support in the day, what is now proven is that if this Hybrid system was installed in a more highly insulated home, the gas boiler could be reduced in kW outputs to 12. As much as Gas is charged at £0.4p a kWh, a 14 kW gas boiler burns 14 x £0.4p = £0.56p an hour.
With possible power cuts around the corner due to the closure of 9 oil and coal power stations, I would not look to rely on a heat pump for heating or solar when our weather could become colder and longer. KEEP the GAS BOILER.
rear of the house, as a smaller garden to the rest of the devlopment
has provider enough of an area to complete further testing with the
updating of my off grid solar genaration system in the garden shed
Gardening is my 2nd love after cooking, haveing been born into 3 genarations of farmers with uncles and aunts spread across Norfolk at that time.