EU Funding. Funding - 26 March 2019

Firm behind glass coatings innovation sees bright future in Nottingham

The company behind an innovative glass pane coating which protects against solar heat has new Nottingham headquarters, thanks to a £250,000 investment – part-funded by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnershp and fellow Midlands’ LEPs.

Solaris Technology’s ‘SolarBlock’ is a polymer coating which can be sprayed onto glass panes already installed in a commercial building or home, or applied when a pane is being manufactured. It blocks heat caused by ultraviolet and infra-red light, without reducing natural sunlight. It’s claimed SolarBlock substantially reduces the need for air conditioning; improving and reducing a building’s energy usage, and shrinking its ‘carbon footprint’ (a measure of a building’s environmental impact due to energy consumption).

The company (founded in 2016) has now established its head office, and research and development facility, at the BioCity Nottingham site, in the city centre, following a £250,000 investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund’s ‘Proof of Concept and Early Stage Fund’.

The £250million Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) established 2014, was set-up to make financing for the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises more accessible; so they can prosper, and grow the Midlands and wider UK economy. It is a joint initiative by the British Business Bank; the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; and ten Midlands Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), including the D2N2 LEP.

The MEIF’s £250m in resources is made up of Government, British Business Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) funding; and European Union funding drawn from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money previously allocated to LEPs. Up to £78.5m in MEIF funds will come from the Midlands LEPs, with £11.75m of individually from the D2N2 LEP.

Its £250,000 investment from the MEIF will help the firm finalise global manufacturing and distribution agreements,  and support development of its sales and marketing strategy. Solaris Technology’s investment from the MEIF Proof of Concept and Early Stage Fund was managed by equity and debt finance group, Mercia Fund Managers.

Pictured above (L to R) are Lauren Tunnicliffe of the British Business Bank, David Baker of  Mercia Fund Managers; and Solaris Technology’s Chief Executive Alaric Errington, Managing Director Dr Jonathan Hibbard (the chemist who developed the SolarBlock technology), and Sales and Marketing Director Jon Kenyon-Smith.

Dr Hibbard, Solaris Technology MD, said: “Bringing disruptive new technologies such as SolarBlock to market requires heavy investment in research and development. This support will allow us to accelerate the commercialisation phase, establish a global infrastructure and grow the business more quickly.”

Sajeeda Rose, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Supporting new technological and manufacturing innovations is a key part of how we will develop the D2N2 LEP area economy and improve its productivity; as outlined in our new Strategic Economic Plan, Vision 2030.

“That is why D2N2 and its fellow Midlands’ LEPs are jointly investing the European Union money allocated to them – up to £78.5m in total – in the £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund, supporting growing businesses with much needed financing.”

David Baker, Investment Associate with Mercia Fund Managers, said: “Solaris Technology has developed a very exciting product in SolarBlock and one that has the potential to disrupt a worldwide industry with an estimated value of £80billion. The funding will allow it to finalise agreements with existing partners, which will generate commercial revenues and unlock opportunities for significant sustained growth.”

For further information on the Midlands Engine Investment Fund visit its website at https://www.meif.co.uk/

More on how the D2N2 LEP is using European Union funding to help its area’s economy grow at www.d2n2lep.org/EUFunding

Media wanting more information about the D2N2 LEP can contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 957 8749 or email: sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org 

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