Solavox Prospectus
 
  The market for thermal electric solar concentrators

Thermal electric solar conentrators focus the sunlight to produce a very high temperatures input to a heat engine such as a steam turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity. At present the market for such devices is obscure with most of the global install base being prototypes. These prototypes have been very successful from a technical wiewpoint and have demonstrated their ability to reliably produce a high output of useful power per unit area. But as they are prototypes, they have been expensive to build and in many cases to maintain. High capital cost translates into high revenue cost per unit of energy produced and this is clearly added to by any maintenance requirements. However as we explain in our page on solar concentrators, such devices have a very clear potential for much lower costs. We believe that with small economies of scale we can lower the unit costs of energy significantly below that of solar voltaics, the principle competitor of this technology. This will create a viable market for thermo electric solar concentrators, not just as part of bespoke energy solutions but as off-the-shelf self contained devices. With larger economies of scale we are confident that this technology can go on to beat even the most optimistic projections for lower costs of solar voltaics.

Although our solar concentrators produce electricity, they fit into a different environment than solar voltaics. Comparing the two, the principle advantage on offer, assuming economies of scale, is cost. One disadvantage is that solar concentrators are bulky objects not suited for fitting to pitched roofs. The other disadvantage is they do not operate when the sun is obscured by cloud, whle solar voltaic panels do provide some output under these conditions. These disadvantages limit the deployment opportunities to flat roofs or open ground and to locations with relatively low levels of cloud cover. There are though, many sites that are suitable for the deployment of solar concentrators. Enough to ensure a large global market. Farms seeking to meet electricity demands are seen as the initial primary market with a potential worldwide install base of many tens of thousands of units. We only need to produce a few thousand per year to achive the economies of scale nessesary to establish this market.

Business plan: Phase one

Phase one will be a year in duration and will see the establishment of a combined corporate headquarters, some living quarters, a labatory and a small scale manufacturing workshop cabable of manufacturing upto 5,000 solar concentrators per year. This will be situated on a farm on the East coast of the United States, almost certainly in the state of Pennsilvania, near the boarder with New Jersey. A farm is deemed nessesary at the outset because of the space requirements of the business. We envisage field trials involving as many as 20 or 30 units, many of differing configurations at any given time. Also, during and beyond phase one, experiments conducted in the labatory (see below), will nessesitate an exclusion zone around the labatory in order to compay with various safty requirements. A farm is deemed desirable on an ongoing basis because it facilitates on site living quarters and the establishment of a community grid, a bespoke energy solution that give us energy self sufficiency. This will allow us to 'lead by example' thereby making a stronger case for our own products. The living quarters will allow our staff and visiting fellows wishing to conduct thier own experiments, lower costs and commute times and will foster an environment more akin to an academic campus. A farm also offers room for future expansion. Not only is a farm the most suitable premises for our business, it is also significantly cheaper than a conventional industrial unit. As for the location, this is driven by the current location of key personel and business contacts together with our assesment that the United States represents an excellent initial market for our products.

The finance required for phase one is estimated at $1.2 million although we will apply a margin of error and make this $1.5 million. Of this we are allowing upto $200,000 as a 20% deposit on the farm itself (max price $1 million). The remainder will go on conversion of any existing buildings, some new build, tools for manufacturing the solar concentrators, the field tests and some R&D. Only some $500,000 will be needed at the outset, with the remaining $1 million being required over the couse of phase one. From september 2006, we shall begin issuing $1,000 bonds. Before phase one can commence we need to be very confident that the finance to complete this phase will be forthcoming. Because of this we will not take the full $1,000 in respect of each bond at the outset. Instead we will take a deposit of just $50 per bond which we shall place in an escrow account until we have orders totalling 1,000 bonds or $1 million. If we fail to reach this target by the end of March, 2007 we will refund this deposit. If we suceed in meeting this target investors will be required to pay the remaining $950 within a month. Failure to do so will render the deposit non-refundable.

Plans for mass production and expected prices

We plan to begin shipping 3 meter dish format solar concentrators in March 2008 at prices of around $1,500. These will be followed by 4.5 meter dishes at $3,000 and later, 6 meter dishes at $6,000. The dishes will at this point be supplied as self build kits with the parabolic reflectors divided into sections that clip together. The price does not include the power management unit that interfaces to the grid or the cabling to connect the dish to the power management unit. This is because no assumptions can be made about where the dishes will fit in to the client's overall energy solution. The prices equate to $1 per watt, one quarter of that currently offered by the cheapest solar voltaic panels.

Business plan: Phase two

Once phase one is complete we will be an up an running business with revenue sales arising from shipments of solar concentrators. Phase two will see expansion of R&D to bring to market a number of other energy products. While our research will cover the full spectrum of devices and methods, much of this is limited to simply staying informed of the science and the market. Areas of research that we do not feel we can make a meaningful contribution to are avoided and left to the big boys. Examples of this would be better fabrication techniques for solar voltaic panels and better electrodes for lithium ion cells. Such activies require bespoke laboratory equiptment costing millions and field tests costing many millions more. We wish them well. Any success they have will bring benefits to us all and will widen the market for alternative energy products. Instead we shall research better designs of devices we can build in less sophisicated laboratories and workshops. From this research we identify devices we can develop and it is to these devices that will the bulk of the R&D budget shall be directed.

We cannot say with any certainty what devices our R&D will focus on in phase two as the field of alternative energy is no longer the slow moving story of obscure discoveries that had little practical use. Today the pace of invention and discovery are frenetic and accelerating. It is like a jigsaw coming together with more and more breakthroughs having positive implications for ideas that have lain dormant for years. That said we are likely to focus on energy storage in phase two, collaborating with other companies to produce zinc-bromine and sodium sulpher batteries.

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