Lancashire-based renewable energy business RenewWeCare, has received a £100,000 loan from NPIF – BFS & MSIF Microfinance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
ReneWeCare is a new and innovative family business which has developed the world’s first commercial solar module access system.
The system allows safe access and zero pressure to the glass of various solar module arrays; a first for the renewable energy industry.
Eric Couling, Director at RenewWeCare, has worked in the renewable energy sector for over 10 years and during this time experienced the issues and dangers in maintaining solar panels. Walking on the panels often led to damage and also injury to the operative, due to the slippery and inclined surfaces.
With this in mind, Eric alongside his three sons - all whom share a passion for innovation – have spent the last two years on developing a solution. This led to the creation of a solar module access frame, which provides a safe working environment and applies minimal pressure to the glass of the solar panels.
RenewWeCare’s solar module access frame minimises glass fractures, provides a much safer working environment and also allows solar panels to be replaced three times faster.
The funding is being used for the initial product manufacturing and for marketing purposes.
Eric Couling, RenewWeCare Director said: “The comments we have received from Health & Safety Managers to Area Managers and all the way up to Directors at various photovoltaic companies has been amazing. Comments include ‘changing the industry forever’ and ‘at last we have a safe system of work’.
“We think we have a great solution but without MSIF we would not be in a position to make the solar industry a safer place and stop unnecessary damage being caused by O&M engineers being forced to walk on the glass modules.
“We would like to thank Paul and his team at MSIF for believing in our product as much as we do. Along with Adam Bradbury from MC Vanguard the process has been seamless.”
Paul Humphray, MSIF Investment Director, said: “The product the Couling family has created is great. It is the only product of its kind in the world and a huge achievement in improving the health and safety of the solar panel industry."
"The product has received a large amount of interest, and with a great team working on the business it has a lot of potential. I look forward to following the growth of RenewWeCare and am happy MSIF were able to assist with the funding required.”
Sue Barnard, Senior Relationship Manager at British Business Bank, said: “We are pleased that NPIF through MSIF is providing RenewWeCare with the funding needed to bring its innovative access solution to the solar panel market. RenewWeCare demonstrates the level of innovation taking place in the Lancashire region and through the help of our fund managers, we aim to support more high-growth SMEs in making their growth plans a reality.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.