The University of the West of England is boosting its solar generating capacity fourfold with a huge array of solar panels on top of its new £16m innovation centre.

The solar array consists of 1,700 modules that will generate over 400MWh a year of electricity. It is being installed on the roof of the building that houses the Bristol Robotics Lab and the University Enterprise Zone (UEZ).

“Bristol is accelerating its international standing for its technology and creative industries; the innovation centre will be a big part of that”

 

reach-robotics-logoThe first tenant of the UEZ Future Space is Reach Robotics, which is developing a gaming robot. The zone will host 70 offices around a co-working space, atrium and café. The £650,000 solar array on the 10,000 square metre roof will provide half the energy for BRL and UEZ, saving £55,00 a year.

Future Space is run by Oxford Innovation and is aimed at companies with limited research and development budgets, providing shared laboratory space, advanced technical equipment and business support.

First tenant

UWE UEZReach Robotics now has 12 staff and is getting ready to roll out its first products in December. “It was important for us here at Reach Robotics to remain loyal to Bristol, given the support we’ve already had from Bristol Robotics Lab and UWE Bristol,” said chief executive and co-founder Silas Adekunle (right, centre). “Our new address at Future Space means we can focus on work while the centre team at Oxford Innovation look after incoming calls, mail, cleaning, utilities and meeting room bookings, as well as supporting our growth with business support and strategic networks.”

He adds, “Our new address at Future Space means we can focus on work while the centre team at Oxford Innovation look after incoming calls, mail, cleaning, utilities and meeting room bookings, as well as supporting our growth with business support and strategic networks.”

“We are looking forward to opening our doors to generate a high-tech cluster of activity”

 

“We are already seeing strong demand from a variety of exciting young businesses and we are looking forward to opening our doors to generate a high-tech cluster of activity,” said Elaine McKechnie, Oxford Innovation’s newly appointed regional manager for the West of England. “With Reach Robotics’ arrival, Bristol’s powerhouse role in leading-edge British technology is underlined. There could well be upwards of 450 jobs created on site as part of the new University Enterprise Zone, with the beneficial knock-on effect of supporting employment in the supply chain and local economy.”

“Bristol is accelerating its international standing for its technology and creative industries, including gaming, virtual reality, robotics, hardware and telecommunications; the innovation centre will be a big part of that,” said Bill Marshall, UWE Bristol’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Commercial Director. All three are pictured above right.

You can see more about the centre at the UWE news page and get updates on the centre by following them on Twitter: @UWEBristol

Nick Flaherty