A North East technology company has developed, patented and is now scaling a disruptive solar photovoltaic (“PV”) film in a bid to generate solar energy on any surface, making it more accessible to businesses and drive the industrial solar rooftop revolution, thanks to a new round of Venture Capital funding.

Scaling innovation

Power Roll, based in Seaham, has created a lower cost alternative to solar panels by using microgroove technology. First invented by Dr John Topping Chief Scientist and Co-founder at Power Roll in 2011, the thin, film-like product is lighter and more flexible than silicon PV and can be deployed on almost any surface to generate low-cost green electricity, from factory rooftops to campervan roofs.

To bring the innovative technology to market, the business is planning to raise its next round of funding in the second half of this year to set up a commercial scale factory and are considering sites in the North East. This factory will initially produce over 1 million square meters of the solar film per year which would produce enough electricity to power 32,000 homes.

Power Roll has increased its number of employees from 12 to 38 in the past year with plans to grow these numbers significantly in the next few years.

Meeting banking needs of a small business

As a small business, there was limited capacity to employ financial experts, so the business turned to Lloyds Bank who supported with treasury services and deposit accounts. Once each funding round completed, Lloyds Bank also ensured the business was able to maximise its return without inhibiting cash flow needs.

Neil Spann, CEO of Power Roll, said: “We are incredibly proud of the patented technology we have created at Power Roll and are looking forward to taking this next, important step in the business’ journey to be able to bring our unique and low-cost solar film to market.

“We are grateful for the support Lloyds Bank has given us over the past decade. Our relationship manager, Bill, has done everything possible to make sure our banking needs have been met, as well as offering numerous suggestions to help the business be one step ahead. There is no doubt that we would not be where we are today without their help.”

Bill Harvey, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Power Roll is an exceptional business that has the possibility to disrupt the market by using innovation to challenge what’s already out there and create a more sustainable future for businesses and households.

“The business has reached a crucial point in its expansion, and we are proud to be by its side as the team takes their next step in raising Venture Capital funding. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Neil and the team as the business continues to go from strength to strength.”

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