Saturday 21 April 2018

Firm backed by ex-ESB boss launches solar-powered home and car package

John Quinn, founder of Photonomi. Photo: David Conachy
John Quinn, founder of Photonomi. Photo: David Conachy

John Reynolds

A green energy firm backed by former ESB chief Padraig McManus has partnered with Bank of Ireland, Toyota and BMW to launch a solar-powered home and car deal, aimed at owners of older houses interested in driving an electric, hybrid or hydrogen-powered car.

Irish inventor John Quinn's Photonomi Group will offer a tailored finance package, where savings on electricity, heating and car running costs finance one of its HONE systems for heating, electricity and hot water, as well as an optional electric car - which customers will own after the finance term concludes.

It aims to offer 2,000 car and home deals over the next year, though it will offer more if the cars are available, Quinn said.

Photonomi failed to agree on terms of business with an unnamed Irish utility last year for a €450m deal for its systems to be installed in 30,000 homes here.

Two other deals in the UK and Germany got shelved after the pound plummeted in the wake of Brexit and made them unviable, Quinn said, adding: "We restructured and revised our aims, and will now offer our solution direct to the market, rather than partnering with a utility."

Endorsing the partnership and Photonomi's HONE technology - which is more advanced than conventional solar panels and requires daylight, rather than solar rays - Aiden Connolly, head of innovation at Toyota and Lexus Ireland, said: "John and his team are doing something extraordinary and we really wanted to be a part to it. Government and utilities say that simply moving to electric vehicles will reduce our carbon footprint and help offset some of the EU emissions fines in 2020 and 2030. But the energy used will come mostly come from burning coal at Moneypoint.

"The HONE system and a car such as the plug-in Prius genuinely creates a zero-emission car footprint, as the energy comes from daylight.

"Photonomi also plans to simplify your home energy, heating and car requirements with one simple payment. This is the kind of thinking that will future-proof our country."

Quinn has invested €4m here in the past 18 months, opening a new technology centre in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo.

It is hiring up to 80 new recruits to join its workforce of 43 here. A further €6m will be invested in the business here.

A showhome there demonstrates its daylight-powered home power, heating and hot water solution, complete with a fleet of demonstrator electric cars, including 10 BMW i3s, a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and a Toyota hydrogen-fuel cell car - the first of its kind in Ireland.

A key new recruit for Photonomi is its chief of customer experience, DIT graduate Jo Ferriter, a former US and UK sales director with well-known US firms in the sector SolarCity and Tesla Energy.

Sunday Indo Business

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