Solar tech firm hopes to shine on global stage


The world’s two biggest sporting events could be using high-tech transparent photovoltaic glass developed by a Cambridge cleantech company.

Polysolar develops advanced solar energy technologies for use by architects and engineers in building projects.

Each pane of the glass, which has already been used in Europe and Asia, can generate around 100W of electricity and can be used everywhere from wall cladding and windows to greenhouses and bus shelters.

Now the ideaSpace-based company’s new product – a transparent photovoltaic glass, which has just received MCS certification for UK Feed-in-Tariffs – could feature at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The company was founded in 2007 and is part funded by a £1m research grant from the Technology Strategy Board and is also supported by leading glass company Pilkington and chemical firm Solvay.

“Our product is different from any other solar panel on the market, because it can be used as a building material, making it a highly cost effective integral part of the building”, explains Hamish Watson, company founder.

“Unlike traditional solar cells, which need to be southward facing, the glass can be positioned anywhere, so is more flexible for large scale architectural and engineering projects and hence it generates a higher yield.

“The current solar glass is based on ultra thin film amorphous silicon materials, and we are now working with academics in Sheffield and the Plastic Electronics Technology Centre in the North East to develop low cost next generation organic polymer photovoltaic technologies as a replacement of conventional window glass.”

“Our PV glass has generated a lot of interest and we are in discussions to install it at the 2012 Olympic village, whereIt could be used to help generate power for information displays across the site.
We have also had early discussions with the organisers of the 2022 World Cup and the developers of London’s Walkie Talkie building – both projects are obviously quite exciting for our company.”

Additional Information

According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, the total world installed capacity of PV reached 40GW at the end of 2010, with 16.6GW added in 2010 alone, generating 50Twh per year.  By 2015 installed cumulative capacity is expected to reach some 150GW.

Europe leads, with 30GW installed, about 75% of global capacity, with Germany representing 7.4GW alone.  The 13.3GW of PV installed in Europe in 2010 overtook the 9.3GW of wind generation and compares with 15.7GW for gas power plants.  The UK remains a minnow with only 0.3% of the installations of PV, but has seen growth in 2010 of 5 times to around 70MW.


Polysolar is an award-winning Cambridge company developing advanced photovoltaic products and technologies for building-integrated applications (BIPV). The company was founded in 2007, by a group of experienced entrepreneurs with expertise and experience of the renewable energy and Cleantech. The company works closely with architects, engineers and project developers.

Polysolar is a world leader in developing of large area organic polymer photovoltaic devices.  Our R&D division has partnered with leading European glass and chemicals companies to develop low cost PV coatings for the next generation of PV windows.
Polysolar’s BIPV products range from PV glass for pitched, and flat roofs, rain screen wall cladding, transparent PV glass for facades for office buildings, schools, hospitals and shopping malls to solar glass for atria, conservatories, balustrades and bus shelters.

ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator

The ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator (iEA) is a four year programme to support the generation of economic, strategic and social value across the Eastern Region by:

• Identifying high-potential research- and innovation-led opportunities for early-stage business growth;
• Supporting the accelerated development growth of new ventures, leading to financial and jobs growth; and
• Increasing the knowledge and skills of people engaging in key roles across the enterprise lifecycle

The programme, made possible through support from the Hauser-Raspe Foundation and the East of England Development Agency, incorporates and builds upon the University of Cambridge ideaSpace which was established to support the coordination, development, acceleration and widening of entrepreneurial activity across the Eastern Region.

IfM Education and Consultancy Services Limited
ideaSpace Enterprise Accelerator is operated and managed by IfM Education and Consultancy Services Limited (IfM ECS). IfM ECS is wholly-owned by the University of Cambridge. It disseminates the Institute for Manufacturing’s research and education outputs to industry and government through education, consultancy, events, and publications.

The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is a division of the Department of Engineering. The IfM brings together expertise in management, economics and technology to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities integrate research and education with practical application in companies, providing a unique environment for the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice. The IfM works closely with industry, at a Regional, national and international level, providing strategic, technical and operational expertise to help companies to grow and to become more competitive.


For further information, contact:
Rob Halden-Pratt
Communications Officer
Institute for Manufacturing
Tel: 01223 748266
M: 07540 667330





ideaSpace believes that great organisations are founded by great people.