This week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced zero rate vat on solar panels, heat pumps and insulation, this includes solar thermal panels/evacuated tube collectors.
A few weeks ago I contacted and oil tank manufacture, to see if they could make some small design changes to their largest oil tanks, to convert them to vented thermal stores. A manager from one department contacted me and we spoke for 1.5 hrs, as was very interested in a tie up after I explained what I had achieved in the past with solar thermal heat collectors.
I was also told they had developed a domestic thermal store in Polypropylene, ideal for one of my latest low cost designs, where the cold mains water would be pre heated first before flowing into the existing unvented HW cylinder below.
After a 2nd 1.5hr chat, we are now 90% agreed that this pre heat cold water system could be the start of re building solar thermal sales across the UK Made in Great Britain, even the flat plate collector being planned to source made in UK.
I will update this page, once we are all agreed and signed off on this.
Watch this space
Below is an overview of my past, after selling up my Bathrooms of Bmth Business in 1990
It was in 1991, I first looked into UK manufactured/supplied solar thermal collectors, after I developed a thermal store (see the history in another listing)
In 1993, after a short holiday in Cyprus, the opportunities to learn more about solar thermal provided an opening to establish a business there. After 3 further visits and finding a British born partner !, I decided to invest in the filling of a 40ft container with over 100 products related to bathrooms, plumbing, insulation and thermal stores.
The plan was to set everything up in a showroom in Papfos, and leave the day to day running to this self-taught British plumber.
Sadly on the day I arrived to clear the container, he pulled out, leaving me with a choice, return the container to UK with all the costs, or look for a way I could work and at least open up the showroom shop and find a person to manage it.
My planned 6 weeks, lasted 5 yrs, after returning back to the UK and saying to my Wife, lets shut down the UK business and give the keys to our luxury flat in Bmth back to the BS. So that is what we did, to start a new life in Cyprus during a deepening recession in the UK
On my return back to UK in 1998 after securing an Agency for SUNDA tube heat pipe collectors, I was testing for a German company in Cyprus, I open up the Global Warming Solutions Centre.
The SUNDA agency earned the business in first year £100,000 in Commission, but was heading for big problems a year on, so I began to look for another manufacture.
It was at this time a young Australian Mick Humphries living and working in China contacted me after finding my web site
I had already by 2001, visited exhibitions and manufactures in China, so returning again to include a meeting with Mick was not a problem. The rest of this story can be found in another part of this web site.
During the period from 2002 to 2009, Powertech Solar Ltd moved into a 2,000m2 warehouse on an Industrial estate in Ferndown, Dorset to establish its name as a pioneer of hybrid integrated solar water heating systems.
As the founder and owner of Powertech Solar Ltd, I took all the decisions
The early evacuated tube collectors produced by a Chinese manufacture seeking
to expand exports, demonstrated that we had to have our own trained people to
follow our western standards of high quality.
By 2003, the brand Apricus was established and the first solar Keymark EU tests completed, followed by SRCC, for the USA market which my agreement with the Australian in China gave Powertech to establish exports into the USA, Sth Africa and Europe from our UK warehouse/office.
A £100,000 investment from Good Energy Ltd, gave Powertech the money to employ more people and increase imports of containers to service growing demand.
At the height of the business in 2008, Powertech Solar was supplying 120 registered installers, with 6 NEW distributors signed up to have a direct import of a container, while Powertech retained back up stock.
The business provided a wide choice of solar water heating kits, from the conversion of an existing copper cylinder to solar heated water to full container deliveries to hospitals and agriculture.
In 2007, Eric departed from working with the Australian and with a lot of experience in manufacturing and exporting, established a new partnership with a NEW evacuated tube manufacture west of Beijing, China.
A further $100,000 was invested over the year to own 100% of our own brand, so we could sell worldwide without any restrictions.
The new brand was called Suntech Solar, with the first exports completed in 2008 to both our UK warehouse and one of my USA importer/distributors after gaining solar key mark and SRCC for USA.
Its now been 10 yrs this month April 2019, since Powertech Solar Ltd was placed into administration.
It was a sad day for Eric and his loyal team, along with the many trained installers and those who invested in a new business, as a future for this country.
The banking crises of 2007/8 followed by the recession, a down turn in the property market, falling sales and proposed policy changes by the department of climate change, is the reason taken to see if the business could be attractive to a new buyer with the money to continue the progress Eric and his team pioneered.
Eric is still active in renewables, but with no warehouse, no team, no manufacturing in China, just working from his test house in Dorset which is still generating hot water that supports space heating during the day time throughout the winter, when it’s not raining, or snowing.
At the peak of sales in 2007/8, we could not move in this 2,500m2 warehouse. A fully working training and exibition centre was built inside, while on the walls outside were two types of fully working solar collectors and a heat pump.