SunShot Incubator: 10 Solar Startups Win $10 Million

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This article was originally published on Solar Love and has been reposted (with minor adjustments) with full permission.

A total of fifty-four startups have participated in the SunShot Incubator program since it began back in 2007, and 10 new startups have joined the seventh incubator program launched this month.

Ten More Startups for SunShot IncubatorAccording to the U.S. Department of Energy, who funds the program, “the Incubator program provides early-stage assistance to help startup companies cross technological barriers to commercialization while encouraging private sector investment.”

These projects are accelerating technological innovation for;

  • Photovoltaic (PV) technologies
  • Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies
  • Power electronics
  • Balance-of-system (BOS) hardware
  • Balance-of-system non-hardware (Soft Costs).

The full list of the 10 startups sharing the latest $10 million are as follows:

AmberWave, Inc. ($1,000,000)
Salem, New Hampshire
AmberWave has developed a robust, ultra-thin, mono-crystalline silicon (Si) technology on flexible steel carriers, reducing silicon usage by more than 90% compared with mainstream wafer-based silicon photovoltaics (PV). Under this SunShot award, AmberWave is integrating this technology with the proven high-performance solar cell designs developed at the University of New South Wales, which has demonstrated the world-leading, 25%-efficient silicon solar cell.

Bandgap Engineering ($1,000,000)
Woburn, Massachusetts
Bandgap is working to increase solar cell efficiencies by about 10% by integrating Si nanowire cells into standard processing, which increases power density and reduces costs. In this project, Bandgap aims to provide nanowire-coated wafers to cell manufacturers and cooperatively develop the fully integrated manufacturing process.

Enki Technology ($1,500,000)
San Jose, California
Enki Technology is working to improve PV module efficiencies and reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) through development of low-cost anti-reflective and anti-soiling coatings.
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Infinite Invention, LLC ($386,462)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The “Solar Socket” is a device that adds sockets for plugging in solar PV systems between the electric meter and meter case. It streamlines the installation process by cutting wiring costs, scheduling headaches, and site inspection time while also allowing homeowners to swap in new technologies as they emerge.

Princeton Power Systems ($1,000,000)
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Princeton Power Systems is developing an inverter that regulates DC power from PV strings to 13.8kV AC without a grid side transformer. The inverter includes control algorithms to provide consistent power flow from the solar installation as well as grid support functions and advanced communications. This product represents a major step toward achieving the DOE goal of $0.10/W for power electronics costs with innovative transformer, switching bridge, and software control technologies.

Qado Energy, Inc. ($500,000)
Summit, New Jersey
Qado is working to provide utilities and distributed generation developers a new decision support platform that enables them to quickly assess the technical impacts and commercial benefits of deploying distributed energy resources onto the grid.

QBotix, Inc. ($972,874)
Menlo Park, California
QBotix is pioneering the use of robotics in the operation of solar power plants to reduce LCOE by 20%. The system enables 50% cost reduction in dual-axis tracking, high system reliability, and detailed power plant level data, and is compatible with all PV panels.

REhnu, Inc. ($1,000,000)
Tucson, Arizona
REhnu is transitioning a new concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) technology, already proven in a University of Arizona prototype, to a low-cost form ready for commercial production. The technology uses large glass dish reflectors, each with a compact array of CPV cells at its focus. This makes it economical to build systems with an extended 40-year lifetime and maintain high power output by swapping in new cells as multijunction technology improves.

Seeo ($317,536)
Hayward, California
Seeo, in partnership with SunEdison, is developing an Energy Storage System (ESS) that pairs the breakthrough lifetime of Seeo’s solid-state battery with a set of control analytics designed to optimize performance when operated alongside solar. This program combines a field demonstration with an evaluation of how financing mechanisms such as power purchase agreements (PPAs) and leases can be employed to accelerate adoption of distributed PV with advanced energy storage.

Stion ($2,000,000)
San Jose, California
Stion has developed a disruptive technology based on a tandem copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) module that uses a revolutionary thin-film design to enable broader and more effective harvesting of available light. The tandem module, which utilizes mechanically stacked top and bottom modules to avoid the design and manufacturing challenges associated with multijunction monolithic integration, enables 18% efficiency on full-size CIGS modules.

Some of the previous startups included in the SunShot Incubator Program have been covered in the articles below:

Source: Department of Energy

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Joshua S Hill

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