Flat pack Scottish solar invention heating water in world's poorest countries

Inventor Faisal Ghani is now taking the equipment to the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai.

Innovative new solar technology developed in Dundee is helping heat water in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The flatpack self build system, also helps to reduce carbon emissions.

Its inventor Faisal Ghani, who set up Solariskit in 2020, is now taking the equipment to the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai.

The small and simple to construct devices are already being used in Rwanda and Ghana. People in those countries have previously relied on wood and charcoal to heat water.

The special glass prisms that hold heat in coiled pipes use the sun to provide people in African countries with instant hot water for the first time.

It is also cutting costs and carbon emissions.

Mr Ghani told STV News: “Heating is the single largest source of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

“Around half the world’s energy is consumed to meet heating demand, most of that is still being met using fossil fuels. In the global south there is still a huge reliance on wood and charcoal to heat water. That’s led to carbon emissions and also deforestation.”

The kits are designed, manufactured and packed in Dundee at the former Michelin tyre plant.

The prisms convert solar energy directly into heat and a small 12 volt pump transports the hot water back to an insulated storage tank.

The company hopes its simple invention will help cut global greenhouse gases.

“Just to take a hot shower (in Rwanda and Ghana), which we take for granted in Scotland, a mother would explain to me the process that would take almost an hour and a half to bathe her children,” said Mr Ghani.

“After installing the solar system, not only did we save the household money, we reduced their carbon footprint and it just made their lives so much easier, so now they can just turn on a tap.”

Despite there being less sun in Scotland, there’s been interest here too. The kits have been sold to campsites and to cut the cost of heating hot tubs.

The team will now take the technology to COP28 in Dubai as part of Heriot-Watt University’s “Solar Energy Test Site” project.

The firm is one of a number of businesses showcasing Scottish environmental innovations and will take part in the world’s first test bed designed to develop solar technology.

Mr Ghani said: “COP28 is that key event where lots of clean tech companies are going to raise investment but we’re also interested to see mandated legislation enforcing banning of fossil fuels, but also carbon taxes as well to really accelerate the development of clean tech.”

As well as expanding manufacturing in Dundee, the firm plans to set up a centre of excellence in Kenya where there is a shortage of green energy technicians.

Solariskit has received UK government funding to establish solar thermal Centres of Excellence in Kenya and Rwanda, as well as upcoming funding to manufacture kits locally in Africa.

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