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EGO Portable: A Portable, small size, modular solar water heater suitable for different applications with do-it yourself installation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EGO Portable (EGO Portable: A Portable, small size, modular solar water heater suitable for different applications with do-it yourself installation)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-03-31

While 50% of total energy demand in Europe is for heating and cooling, only 20% is met by renewable energy. Without tackling this issue, the EU’s decarbonization goals cannot be met. In response, the EU has proposed a 1.3% annual target increase for renewables in heating and cooling from 2021 to 2030 as part of its long-term strategy to have a climate neutral economy by 2050.
Solar thermal heating is used in the residential sector to supply hot water and has been proposed as part of the solution to further increasing renewable energy in water heating. However, current solar water heating solutions are still expensive and must be fixed to a rooftop, limiting its use and application. Indeed, the solar thermal market has been in freefall since it reached its peak back in 2008. New solar thermal heating solutions are required for this technology to fully realize its potential and bring the change in our heating systems that we need.
EGO Portable is a new portable and easy to install solar water heating concept developed by Pleion, one of Italy’s leading manufacturers in solar thermal technology. The product is targeted at a new segment within the residential market and will therefore expand the use case for solar thermal technology.
With regards to the technical developments, we have designed an internal safety kit that ensures easy installation and plug-and-play functionality while eliminating damage risk to internal components and risk to user safety. During this process, we also analyzed and ultimately removed a modularity design aspect because it created unnecessary complications in the design and assembly phase. We also developed a trolley system for easy portability of the product and defined a detailed technical work plan to deploy over the next 12 months focused on internal tank, closing frame and accessories design and development.
From a commercial perspective, we developed a market prioritization methodology that defined our initial target market segments for 1) caravan and 2) swimming pool owners. By addressing these two markets we expect to generate €11.6 million in revenues by 2025. We also developed a disintermediation strategy of our value chain by removing the need for installers, thereby reducing final prices paid by customers. Our freedom-to-operate was also analyzed and it was concluded that there aren’t any European patents that infringe on our commercial viability.
EGO Portable will disrupt the relatively sluggish solar thermal residential market. Europe-wide reports find that growth in this industry still relies on an unstable influx of municipal investments and incentives. Reaching decarbonisation by 2050 will require an innovative approach to providing renewable energy and EGO Portable makes solar water heating more accessible and routine: users simply place the heater in view of direct sunlight and can receive temperature-controlled heat within minutes.
Moreover, while one of the barriers to adopting renewable technology and solar water heaters in general has been the initial cost barrier, our “plug in and play” EGO Portable product is an accessible and affordable alternative. To provide hot water outside of the home, an outdoor shower could cost up to €2,200 and required fuel costs at regular intervals. Pleion’s portable system, sold at €702, offers savings of up to 70% vs initial installation of non-renewable systems. It also reduces additional fuel costs to zero, which can cost up to €550 for a full tank of diesel.