Solar for trekking


From pv magazine France

Belgian start-up Sunslice has been developing, since 2017, a small solar panel which, it is claimed, is capable of recharging a smartphone in just a few hours. “Our Photon panel is the smallest solar charger in the world,” the company’s co-fonder and general director, Henri Gernaey, told pv magazine. “It’s a product much appreciated by hikers and travellers which can also be used as a corporate gift to thank employees and good customers with a useful, original device related to solar and renewable energy.”

The product folds up into a wallet shape.Image: Sunslice

The Photon product, which weighs just 220g and folds up into a stylish little wallet size, is based on back-contact monocrystalline silicon cells provided by U.S. manufacturer Sunpower. “But we also use flexible CIGS panels for other of our products,” Gernaey added.

The panel is currently being sold in supermarkets across ten countries, at a price of around €100. “Our business model is exclusively based on the sale of our products,” the general director stated. “We started with a convertible loan to finalise our first prototype and market our first products and once the market viability was demonstrated, we converted this loan and made an initial fundraising with new investors allowing us to make things move forward and start developing new ideas.”

Gernaey also explained that the manufacture of physical goods often requires a negative cash position over several months, with productions that must be financed upstream. “In addition, at the beginning, there is little or no historical financial data on which to base our annual budget estimates,” he stressed. “Growth must therefore be controlled in order to find a financial balance that allows it to grow quickly enough without jeopardising the financial health of the company.”

Sunslice is based in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, situated 30km southeast of Brussels, in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

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