New investment powers solar start-up company at the University of Plymouth

A University of Plymouth spin out venture founded on breakthrough research into the efficiency of photovoltaic solar panels has received significant investment following a first round of fundraising.

PulsiV Solar has been backed with £500,000 of investment to continue its development of technology that significantly improves the amount of energy generated by solar panel inverters, which is then harvested for supply to the grid.

Based on the Plymouth Science Park, the company will now accelerate product development, enabling it to embark upon further prototyping and testing in preparation for the initial production of micro-inverters containing its technologies.

The business, created by Associate Professor Zaki Ahmed, in the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, is now valued at £5 million. The funding round was led by the University’s strategic IP commercialisation partner, Frontier IP Group plc, who were instrumental in ensuring that the mix of investors and the level of funding matched the needs of the business plan.

Neil Crabb, Chief Executive of Frontier IP, said:

"The technology being developed by our portfolio company PulsiV Solar has the potential to drive significant gains in the energy efficiency of solar panels and other photovoltaic systems. We have been delighted to assist with the company’s first funding round and will continue to deploy our energy sector experience to take this ground-breaking technology to market.”

Results from PulsiV Solar’s first prototype show a typical increase of up to 30% in energy generation when compared with conventional inverter technology. The technology, which is already receiving significant interest from international players, can be integrated into new systems or retrofitted to existing solar panels. The global solar inverter market is forecast to be worth $7 billion by the end of the year, according to GTM Research.

PulsiV Solar has received significant support from the University and the Plymouth Science Park as a result of the Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN), which was founded by the University and Plymouth City Council to provide access to new business and growth opportunities, finance and investment, and world class knowledge and research facilities and equipment.

The terms of the investment enable the University, through its wholly owned trading subsidiary University of Plymouth Enterprise Limited (UoPEL), to retain a 44.1% holding in the issued share capital.

Dr Zaki Ahmed, who is Chief Technology Officer of the company, added:

"Frontier IP has played a key role in enabling us to successfully close our first fundraising. It is also leveraging its relationships in the energy sector to open up further opportunities as we look to realise the commercial potential of our technology.”

Research in the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

We produce world leading research in a range of areas including: security, communications and network research; robotics and neural systems; and signal processing and multimedia communications.

The HPC and Cuda centres provide researchers with the resources they need to answer complex questions in science, engineering and mathematics.

Research in the School of Computing, Electronics and Mathematics
Paul Tiltman and Dr Mohammed Zaki Ahmed working on new Solar power technology.

Associate Professor Mohammed Zaki Ahmed

The energy we received from Mars when the exploration Rover beamed pictures back to Earth was less than that generated by a snowflake landing in your hand

Find out more about Dr Ahmed's research