Solar Energy heats up the Fast50

SOLAR Energy Systems managing director Anthony Maslin headed to the Maldives this week on the back of a funding allocation to investigate the potential for sales in the region.

The company, which has been ranked by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as one of Australia’s fastest growing technology companies, secured $120,000 in pre-commercial funding from the Dutch Solar Investment Fund.

The grant will help establish what looks to be a solid market for the company’s solar powered water purification Smartaflow system, according to Mr Maslin.

He said the system provided the highest standard of water purification.

“The technology was developed over a 10-year period prior to us floating on the ASX but where we are at now is that we’ve worked out how to commercialise it,” Mr Maslin said.

“At the Maldives they have water that runs underground. It starts off fresh and as it gets deeper it gets saltier. Sixteen island communities have used up all the fresh water and we want to service those communities to purify the salt water.

“It is a big market for us as there are over 200 communities in the Maldives and a total of 1190 islands.”

SES joins 10 other WA firms as one of the fastest 50 revenue growing technology companies across the nation.

Deloitte technology, media, and telecommunications partner Peter McIver said SES, which ranked 33rd in the 2003 Deloitte Technology Fast50, was judged as the rising star company back in 2001.

“Solar Energy was a rising star in the first year of the program (in 2001) and they have come in at 33, which was good to see,” Mr McIver said.

This year’s rising star company was 3D graphic information software developer Fractal Technologies Pty Ltd.

Mr McIver said WA had increased its performance this year with companies over a range of technologies and industries featured.

“We had four more than last year and this year we have had four of the top 10 companies,” he said.

“And they have achieved growth over that tough tech-wreck period. The revenue is over the three years, so a part of that was the 2000 period.”

Mr McIver said one company had made the list three years in a row.

“pieNETWORKS has won it three years in a row and it is the only WA company to do that,” he said.

pieNETWORKS develops public Internet kiosks and managing director Campbell Smith expects the business to grow as more people become Internet users.

“We built the pay-per-use kiosks when there was less than half of Australians that used the Internet. And while people have computers at home and at the office, what we provide is convenience,” he said.

“It’s a bit like ATMs. There are still banks around but there are more than 6,000 ATMs and it is because it’s convenient.”

Mr Smith said the company had branched out beyond the pay-per-use Internet kiosk and its new corporate market was a growth area.

Taking out top honours was transport surveillance specialists Digital Technology International.

DTI managing director Neil Goodey said its biggest opportunities lay offshore.

“It is a billion dollar market outside of Australia. It’s worth about $7 billion globally and we are in a niche and we are fortunate not to have competitors,” he said.

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