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Naked Energy inks deal to deliver hybrid solar technology

December 16th, 2015

Company signs global manufacturing agreement to produce solar technology that promises to provide power and heat

By James Murray – Business Green


UK solar startup Naked Energy has this week inked an agreement with US-based manufacturing giant Jabil to scale up the production of its hybrid solar technology, Virtu.


Naked Energy’s Virtu technology combines photovoltaic cells and a heat exchanger to produce power and heat, which it claims boosts financial returns and carbon savings for buildings deploying the technology.


Under the terms of the deal announced on Monday, Jabil agreed to support Naked Energy to make Virtu available to a global market as well as providing expertise in the integration of Virtu in buildings and related systems.


Naked Energy claims its combination of photovoltaic cells in an evacuated tube collector results in higher electrical output and exceptional thermal performance.


The companies said manufacturing for customers in the UK, Europe and North America had already started and the installation of commercial pilot projects is planned for early 2016, with a full commercial launch later in the year.


Naked Energy, which has in the past been supported by the Climate KIC group, added that it was now strengthening its balance sheet through additional equity investment to support the commercial launch.


“Jabil has been hugely impressed by the innovation and commercial benefits of Virtu, and is keen to support its commercialisation,” said David Kipling, vice president of corporate investment at Jabil.


“With renewables forming an ever more important part of our energy supply, Virtu is an enabling technology that needs scale to unlock its potential. Jabil can support Naked Energy to achieve that scale through dedicated manufacturing facilities and our supply chain expertise.”

COP21 – Sparking an innovation step change – Naked Energy case study

December 10th, 2015

3 December 2015, COP21, Paris


“Creating a roadmap for the diffusion of radical climate innovation in European business”


This report from Climate-KIC reveals that most European business leaders have prepared strategies to respond to climate change, but with a lack of focus on innovation, those strategies are likely to be ineffective for a 2°C trajectory.


Climate-KIC start-ups raise €59 million in external funding

October 6th, 2014

Climate-KIC has announced that its unique Accelerator, launched in 2010, has so far helped 45 European cleantech start-ups to collectively raise €59 million in external investment.


The 45 start-ups represent technologies from consumer-facing apps to highly specialised techniques for improving the resource efficiency of industrial processes. This diversity demonstrates an increasing trend for investors to engage with a much wider range of clean technologies that incorporate energy, material and resource efficiency as well as adaptation technology.

The Climate-KIC Accelerator supports over 120 start-ups in Europe each year, offering unique access to ideas, people and partners across Europe to help provide the most promising cleantech start-ups with the tools, opportunities and network to transform their ideas into commercial success. By giving start-ups access to its network, workshops, business coaches and early stage funding, Climate-KIC is helping to deliver investable cleantech start-ups to the market – helping to make the world a greener place one venture at a time.


Hero Prins, Entrepreneurship Director, Climate-KIC

Hero Prins, Climate-KIC



Hero Prins, Director of Entrepreneurship at Climate-KIC commented: “As the €59 million raised by our Accelerator alumni has demonstrated, Climate-KIC is at the forefront of the global efforts to maximise climate innovation and entrepreneurship. Ultimately Climate-KIC believes that entrepreneurs and innovators hold the key to responding to the climate challenge.”

Prins added: “Overcoming climate change should not stifle innovation, but instead it should create new businesses, new economic models and new opportunities, ending our reliance on the economics and thinking of the last century. Climate-KIC was created to fulfil this vision. These success stories show the value of our unique approach, and we are all looking forward to seeing the next batch of standout European cleantech innovation at this year’s Venture Competition. Undoubtedly the winners will be companies to look out for.”


Hybrid solar panel


One of the 45 start-ups, UK-based Naked Energy, is developing ‘Virtu’ ® a revolutionary and patented hybrid solar panel that generates both electricity and heat for commercial and residential applications. Naked Energy has previously won Climate-KIC’s Venture Competition, that recognises the most promising business ideas within Climate-KIC’s Accelerator, and earlier this year the company announced that it had been awarded €1 million by The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) to assist in the development of its innovative solar technology.


Naked Energy's Christophe Williams (middle)

Naked Energy’s Christophe Williams (middle)


Commenting on the support the company received from Climate-KIC, Christophe Williams, Founder and Managing Director of Naked Energy said: “When we first engaged with Climate-KIC we were very early stage, but straight away its team was able to see the innovative value of our technology. Throughout the Accelerator process, whether with financial support or coaching, Climate-KIC has been invaluable in helping us to achieve our milestones, which is crucial for early stage companies in developing customer engagement. Ultimately this support has enabled us to get to a point where we are now actively looking for production partners to manufacture our products in Europe.”

Naked Energy secures €1.3 million of grant funding for Virtu

January 29th, 2014


Christophe Williams receiving award from Ian Ellerington – Head of Innovation delivery DECC


The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has awarded the company €1 million through it’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund to assist in the development of its innovative solar technology.  The focus of the funding will be on optimising production processes accelerating Virtu toward commercial launch.


Virtu is a breakthrough hybrid solar technology providing combined heat and power.  The technology has gained significant interest from around the world and the Naked Energy team are eager to bring this exciting product to market.


“We are delighted to receive this award and vote of confidence from DECC, in what is a highly competitive space.” Said Christophe Williams, Founder and CEO of Naked Energy Ltd.  “The funding will have a dramatic impact on our progress, as we are now able to secure additional talent to our team and partner with some of the best scientific and academic partners in the country,”


Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Innovation is vital for the move towards a low carbon economy and it’s great to see so many entrepreneurs rising to the challenge. I wish the winners every success with their projects.”


In addition the company has secured a further €300,000 grant from The Climate-KIC, which is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership, working to address the challenge of climate change.  The company is an affiliate partner and continues to be a part of their ‘acceleration program’ to drive the business towards commercial success.


Now that Naked Energy has secured significant funding the company is accelerating towards its first pilot projects.  The projects will see Virtu installed in carefully selected locations to demonstrate the versatility of the modular collectors in both temperate and high insolation geographies generating thermal and electrical energy to be used for domestic and commercial applications.


Small-scale production is scheduled to begin in mid 2014 with larger volume activity set to start in 2015.


Christophe Williams, is candid about how he sees the future:


“The opportunity is crystal clear.  Despite the consolidation taking place in the worldwide solar marketplace the future is very bright – literally.  Generating clean, unlimited power from the sun is more than viable, its imperative as part of a sensible long-term energy mix.


Virtu captures over four times the energy of a conventional photovoltaic panel and once we reach scale will be priced very attractively.  We have a highly scalable business and a worldwide market.  It is difficult to keep under the radar with such an exciting proposition; we hope our potential customers can continue to be patient.”


Read the rest of this entry »

Naked Energy – Financial Times – Future brightens for unsubsidised home solar

November 26th, 2013

November 25, 2013 4:01 pm

Future brightens for unsubsidised home solar

By Sylvia Pfeifer




This month executives from more than a dozen British solar-energy companies flew out to Saudi Arabia led by Greg Barker, minister for energy and climate change. Their objective was to capture a slice of the Islamic kingdom’s $109bn push into renewable energy.


Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, says it hopes to generate 41GW of solar power by 2032 to help meet its growing domestic energy needs and reduce its reliance on oil reserves.


Although at an early stage, its ambitious plans have the attention of the renewables industry and start-up companies from the UK. These include Naked Energy and Oxford Photovoltaics. Guildford-based Naked Energy has developed a hybrid solar technology that generates both heat and power from the same glass collectors.


Christophe Williams, managing director, hopes the trip will lead to a partnership in the country. He argues that Naked Energy’s technology addresses two key problems facing the kingdom: dust and heating.


Conventional photovoltaic panels lose about half a per cent of their efficiency with every degree rise in temperature above 25C. Naked Energy’s design transfers that heat away from the cells, increasing the electricity output from the solar cells and providing hot water, he says.


Its technology is still in development – pilot production is expected to start next year – but Naked Energy is among a handful of small players in Europe that are prospering despite high-profile victims of the solar boom, such as Conergy and Q-Cells, and a global supply glut. “There has been enormous consolidation in Europe,” says Mr Williams, “but I think there is still plenty of growth and sustainability here”. While it was “not easy” to secure initial funding, the company has benefited from British expertise and knowhow, he adds.


Europe is still “a hub for research and development into solar”, says Jenny Chase of research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Much of the focus is on small improvements in the materials and processes used in solar manufacture to keep driving down costs. The world’s cumulative photovoltaic capacity surpassed 100GW of installed electrical power last year – capable of producing as much annual electrical energy as 16 coal plants, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.


While about 31GW of capacity was commissioned around the world in 2012, the amount of new solar power installed in Europe fell sharply for the first time in more than a decade, says the association. This was a “turning point in the global PV market that will have profound implications in coming years”.


“Europe does not need more solar,” says Ms Chase. “Most countries are well on track for or have exceeded their 2020 solar targets.” The market for large-scale new build solar is almost done, she adds, with the market moving to focus on households and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


The group expects total PV new build in Europe this year to total 9.2GW, of which 2.8GW is residential, 3.5GW commercial buildings and 2.9GW utility scale. Last year, total European build was 16.9GW. The slack, says Ms Chase, is being made up by Japan and China, with a combined total of 16.3GW this year, up from just 6.1GW in 2012.


Government subsidies helped drive rapid growth in Europe. Holger Rubel, senior partner and global head of Boston Consulting Group’s green energy and sustainability sectors, says that, in Germany, “it was good to have subsidies for solar PV to help it get off the ground but the industry was over-subsidised and it needed to be corrected.”


The key focus, he says, will be on “self-consumption, with homeowners and SMEs installing panels on roof tops, rather than a subsidised market”. Module prices have fallen by more than 80 per cent since 2008. This is creating opportunities for unsubsidised solar amid increasing examples where solar has achieved grid parity – the point at which electricity from PV is as cheap as conventional power.


In Germany, says Mr Rubel, electricity retail prices are near 0.30 per kWh, compared with the “levelised cost” of energy using roof-top PV of 0.11 to 0.15 cents per kWh: “The more energy you can consume yourself, the better.”


BCG expects installations in Germany to fall as the market shifts from one driven by feed-in tariffs to one driven by “self-consumption”.


By 2016, the market should see an installations pick-up, with about 4GW-5GW by 2020, fully driven by self-consumption.


Europe has done a great job to build solar into an industry, says Ms Chase, “but it is not necessary that Europe continues to bear the burden – in terms of the cost of energy – to increase the installation numbers.”



Fixing solar energy; the naked energy creates a hybrid solar solution

November 20th, 2013

The Positive – Science & Technology


By Elliot Stockill: 20th November 2013





Solar panels are a dream method of energy production. They harness a resource which for all intensive purposes is unlimited. Sunlight has a worldwide availability that is almost guaranteed fifty percent of the time, yet solar energy generation is still relatively under used when compared to its potential. Whilst some may presume the price tag that comes along with harnessing free energy prevents investment, it is the inefficient nature of standard photovoltaic (PV) cells within solar panels that constrains widespread solar employment.


Whilst heat is an energy source that can be harnessed, within a solar panel increased temperature decreases the amount of energy it can produce. Excessive heat can see a panel’s efficiency reduce by up to twenty five percent, limiting its production when its resource is at its most plentiful. Due to the fact heat is an inescapable factor when rendering sunlight, several attempts have been made towards addressing this issue. By raising a panel from the roof conductive airflow can reduce the heat absorption, increasing efficiency. Also insulating and isolating parts of the module in shade can also help. However, this approach does little to address the matter at hand, acting only as a mild defence. A large percentage of the light energy is converted into heat on contact with the panel, which means even flawlessly insulated solar panels are inefficient relative to the potential energy content of sunlight that theoretically could be harnessed. This is where Naked Energy, a design and innovation company focused on renewable energy and energy conservation, offers a solution to this cause. They may provide a solution that allows the utilization of both thermal and light energy simultaneously.



Conventionally, to exploit both the heat and light energy of the sun, two separate panels are required: thermal and PV panels. Yet this still reduces the optimum efficiency by ineffectively using space, an important commodity when considering industrial applications of solar energy. The Naked Energy’s new Photovoltaic thermal (PVT) panel, called Virtu, uses a single panel to achieve both jobs utilizing the heat as an energy source. Primarily, the heat is drawn away from the PV elements of the design within a vacuum tube. This increases electricity production of PVT panels alone by up to forty percent compared to standard PV panels. This method of cooling is thermally driven so that the previous disadvantageous heating actually acts as self-preserving mechanism for electricity production. Furthermore, the removal of heat acts to protect and increase the longevity and performance of the unit. Unlike light, heat is already in an energy form highly useful to humans. As such this product simply acts to collect it oppose to converting it into electricity. This thermal energy can then be used in space heating, hot water and desalination. Though theoretically, this could be modified towards an industrial focus of total electricity production, and likewise Virtu vacuum technology can be repurposed towards total heat collection as well.


Whilst the Virtu may seem like a showpiece, it is a brilliant example of engineering overcoming wastefulness, a self-cleaning outer case, thermally driven heat protection, the list goes on. This showpiece is designed to be affordably produced on a large scale, and for the average consumer. However, investment is first required before solar power can be revolutionized. With Internet mega giants Google investing eighty million dollars toward solar power with a total investment in renewable energy exceeding one billion dollars, this sector is fast becoming a respected and profitable one. And with the obvious advantages that PVT panels provide, coupled with the observable changes in opinion toward renewable energies like solar, investment is hopefully inevitable.


With the potential of solar energy finally becoming realized as an efficient method of powering our homes and cities, how long will the average person have to wait before electricity can be described as home-made? 

Virtu in Grand Designs November 2013- “Solar Breakthrough”

November 1st, 2013

‘Energy Now’ feature – Dual Purpose panels offer heat and electricity

October 30th, 2013

DECC review April 2013 featuring Naked Energy

May 2nd, 2013


January 17th, 2013


It’s a great pleasure to be here today to launch the National Solar Centre and mark a real mile stone in the development of the sector.

The last two years have seen the industry go through an extraordinary period of growth but also face the most enormous challenges.

I know just how difficult recent months have been for many of you but the industry has come through this testing period – and has definitely emerged leaner, wiser and certainly larger!

1.8GW of solar PV is now deployed and in operation in the UK – enough energy to power around 450,000 homes. Three times as much deployment as was anticipated by the original, unreformed FITs scheme.

Now, as we prepare to pass the 2GW threshold, we can rightly say that solar is coming of age. It is reliable, accessible, increasingly affordable and totally scalable.

My department has also been through a steep learning curve too. With the help of many of the people here today, we have brought solar into the mainstream of the UK energy mix, solar is now rightly recognised as one of DECC’s priority renewable energy technologies and an essential part of our energy future.

But we are now standing at a crossroads.

The Coalition’s new Energy Bill is set to revolutionise the investment opportunities in renewables – delivering a fundamental change to the way we generate power in the UK to 2020 and beyond. Solar must be part of that.

So there could be no better time for the National Solar Centre to launch, to ensure the industry is in the best place to be an important part of the UK’s energy mix.

Thanks to dramatically falling costs, costs that will….and must, fall further, solar PV will play a critical role in helping the UK meet its vital renewable energy targets. And we in the Coalition Government are absolutely committed to working with you to make that happen.

At Christmas, the Renewables Roadmap Update set out our ambition. We have the ability – and more importantly, the ambition – to see a 10 fold increase in solar power by 2020.

20GW is a big, bold and transformational goal. But to achieve such a dramatic shift, we will need a real partnership:

  • Partnership between the Coalition Government and the private sector.
  • Partnership between manufacturers and developers.
  • Partnership between academic research and those deploying solar in the real economy.

Key to this will be a continued drive to reduce costs.

Whether that’s innovation to bring down the costs and increase the efficiency of solar PV products, a critical mass of activity which brings economies of scale, more cost-effective installation process or innovative financing. All these drivers will need to play their part.

But to achieve this potential, the sector also needs real champions; champions with the vision, the ambition and the resources. To lead the charge on the next stage of the solar power revolution.

The National Solar Centre can be at the spearhead of this effort.

So I want to be clear today about what I believe the National Solar Centre can achieve.

But first let me reflect on how far we have already come – warts and all.


This last year or so has been a difficult period of adjustment.

The levels of deployment under the original FiT tariff simply wasn’t financially sustainable at that level of deployment, and the bumper double-digit 25-year returns funded from energy bills of consumers already struggling with the cost of living were in danger of bringing not just the scheme, but the whole industry, into disrepute.

Now the industry is not to blame for that. That lies squarely on the shoulders of the architects of the original scheme. But while I believe we had no choice but to act, it wasn’t easy or itself without difficult consequences.

But despite all the adverse publicity these changes generated, one fact remains true. Solar is still a great deal.

There’s been much disinformation out there on how solar is now just uneconomic and unaffordable.

The opposite is true. Unit costs have fallen dramatically. And it’s worth underlining – the rates of return under the new bands actually remain broadly similar to those when the FITs scheme was first launched in 2010. Together, we need to get that extremely positive message out to the wider public.

This message is starting to feed through into real-life activity. This last week’s installation figures under the FiT have shown encouraging signs that the market is stabilising with nearly 1500 installations equating to 5MW. Now we have a long way to go to drive up levels of deployment. But the industry isn’t flatlining.

What’s more, we are determined that the new subsidy levels under both the FiT and the Renewables Obligation (including the enhanced band for building mounted solar) should set the solar sector in the UK on a predictable and sustainable long-term footing.

But subsidies alone will not deliver what the sector needs.

That is why I am working hard in DECC to make sure our new Solar Strategy is ready for launch in the spring.

And I will be working closely with the industry to make sure that sets out a real, meaningful programme for you and us to work together. To ensure that I will be setting up a new formal process by which the sector can feed into the strategy. Through it we can, together, identify the critical barriers standing in the way of achieving our shared vision for solar in the UK and work together to overcome them.

2013 is an important year for the economy, as we do everything we can to drive responsibly sustainable growth in the economy. I want solar to be part of Britain’s growth narrative.

I want the industry to embrace the changes taking place. There are real opportunities here for you to…

  • Use the Green Deal to market Solar PV as an energy saving option.
  • Use the commercial Green Deal to drive solar’s part in the distributed energy revolution. Offering companies from SMEs to FTSE Giants solutions to generating more of their own electricity, building greater resilience and certainty into their business models as they go.
  • Take opportunities to capture new markets with the support of Government. For example over the coming month I will be hosting a series of networking events where the sector can sell its pitch to some key potential customer groups – Registered Social Landlords, Local Authorities, the Building Sector.

Key to seizing these opportunities will be getting the message out, mutual supportive action to help the industry grow and develop in a sustainable way.

This is where the National Solar Centre comes in.


I am delighted to announce the creation of the new National Solar Centre (NSC) at St. Austell, Cornwall in April this year.

The new National Solar Centre (NSC) will play a pivotal role in supporting the solar industry not only in the UK but with International Renewable Energy Associations.

It will help establish infrastructure for industry growth in developing Technical Standards, Due Diligence, Best Practice Planning Guides, Training facilities and driving innovation through R&D.

Innovation, of course is fundamental to the development of any industry if we are to realise our growth potential and break down the barriers to deployment. There are really exciting opportunities for the solar industry and we’re seeing them happening now.

Innovation has always been one of the UK’s great strengths. For example, I recently toured Romag’s factory in the North East but while I was there also visited Naked Energy.

Naked Energy is an award winning British design and innovation company. They are developing “Virtu” – a revolutionary hybrid solar panel that generates both electricity and heat for commercial and residential applications. They should be bringing the technology to market during 2013.

That’s precisely the type of innovation we need to see.

The support the NSC will provide for companies who are developing new and innovative solar products, will provide an excellent opportunity for UK manufacturing and job creation.

Solar also needs to build links with other sectors that are key to the industry’s success. The UK has the expertise to influence new and emerging markets and benefit from “solar going global”, and we believe the centre will be an important catalyst in making this happen.

We welcome the commitment which the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has shown in driving this forward, and value the vast experience they will bring.

Making concrete links between the Solar PV industry and the Building and Construction sector will assist the solar sector in taking its place in the mainstream generation market.

I particularly like to thank Ray Noble for his tireless work over many years to support the development of the solar sector in the UK.

It’s probably fair to say that, without his drive and vision, we wouldn’t be celebrating this launch today. I can’t think of a better person to be heading up this important new initiative!


In conclusion Ladies and Gentlemen, there are still real challenges ahead if we are to achieve our 2020 Vision of a vibrant UK solar sector.

We must commit to working together – Government and industry – to make it happen.

The new incentives which are now in place should provide the foundation on which the sector can build deployment. Whether:

  • A householder looking to reduce their own bills.
  • A company looking to take better control of their own energy usage
  • Large scale PV on brownfield sites.

Government will continue to work with the sector to get the message out there that solar is now on a firm footing to build deployment and a ‘go-to’ solution for energy generation.

We are committed to supporting a sustainable PV industry in the UK.

Industry must do its bit driving down costs through relentless innovation.

But working together we can bring about a solar energy revolution in the UK.

  • A win for consumers.
  • A win for British business.
  • A win for the economy as a whole.

And a win for the future of our planet.

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