A company born from research conducted at the University of Waikato is turning traditional solar water heating and electricity production on its head.
and cost effective solution for commercial, industrial or household use. The research for this technology began in early 1998, when Dr Mike Duke and Tim Anderson formed the Solar Engineering Research Group (SERG) at the University of Waikato as a primary vehicle to study solar energy generation. As work developed and the team increased, it became apparent that solar panels lose 80-90% of their potential energy as heat. The team then focused on how traditional panels could be developed to convert some of this heat into useful energy. In 2004 the team successfully trialled their “building integrated photovoltaic thermal solar panel”, which converts 70% of solar energy into useful internationally for two aspects of the invention – a building integrated combined photovoltaic cell and solar thermal collector arrangement (BIPVT), and a building integrated solar thermal collector (BIT). Waikatolink’s CEO, Duncan Mackintosh says James & Wells’ on-going expertise is invaluable: “Inventing great products is one thing, but to take them to market and protecting our IP requires strategic thinking and knowledge. James & Wells has assisted that thinking consistently.” Solenza’s solar energy solutions can be retrofitted into existing roofing structures, and provide increased power and water heating efficiencies over traditional solar energy panels.