SunDensity, a photo voltaic startup promising 20 p.c module effectivity positive aspects resulting from specifically coated glass, raised $2.5 million in preliminary financing to start commercializing its product.
If commercially profitable, the know-how may measurably improve the output of photo voltaic panels, decreasing the variety of modules wanted to provide equal quantities of electrical energy and chopping set up prices.
Fairly than growing the power of a panel to soak up a wider spectrum of sunshine via extra mainstream heterojunction know-how, SunDensity coating, when utilized underneath panel glass, turns blue photons crimson, permitting extra absorption. The startup says it may be used with any kind of panel, from cadmium telluride to perovskite.
After observing the photo voltaic trade’s plodding course of to extend efficiencies, Nish Sonwalkar, the corporate’s founder and a analysis professor at the College of Massachusetts – Boston, “began fascinated with the issue the other way up.”
“As a substitute of exposing photo voltaic cells to this massive spectrum, from 350 nanometers to 1000 [nanometers], let’s slender that to be as shut [as possible] to the bandgap of a given photo voltaic cell,” he informed Greentech Media.
Clear Vitality Ventures, an funding agency centered on early-stage clear applied sciences, led the funding spherical, with assist from its companion Clear Vitality Enterprise Group, early-stage funding group Rochester Angel Community and non-profit enterprise improvement agency LaunchNY. The spherical additionally included funds from Luminate, a New York State-funded accelerator program based mostly in Rochester. SunDensity obtained $1 million from the accelerator in September.
The startup plans to remain in that area, which, in line with Luminate, has probably the most optics, photonics and imaging patents within the nation, plus the American Institute for Manufacturing Built-in Photonics.
SunDensity will spend the $2.5 million over the subsequent 18 months, scaling its know-how past the lab, signing improvement and manufacturing agreements with glass corporations and ramping up total manufacturing.
Sonwalkar informed Greentech Media the corporate is at present in talks with 4 massive panel producers and eight glass corporations, who’ve signed “letters of intent” for as much as 1.5 gigawatts-worth of coated photo voltaic panels. SunDensity hopes to start deliveries in the midst of 2022.
SunDensity is Clear Vitality Enterprise’s eleventh funding because the agency started work on its newest fund in 2019. The group rolled out of Clear Vitality Enterprise Group, which has invested in clear vitality corporations similar to EnergySage, Pika Vitality — now a part of Generac — and Energetic Insurance coverage. CEV focuses on early-stage investments on the cusp of commercialization, with hopes they’ll hit the market inside 12 to 24 months of their funding.
“We will’t essentially afford to only all the time be betting on moonshots that will take 10 years,” stated Temple Fennell, a co-founder and managing director on the group.
SunDensity isn’t the one photonics-focused photo voltaic firm available in the market, however Fennell says CEV expects the startup to achieve scale extra shortly than its friends. And SunDensity’s know-how can also be distinctive, centered on extra frequent supplies than these within the semiconductor quantum dots utilized by others.
Utilizing extra available supplies helps decrease SunDensity’s total value, which Sonwalkar stated will solely add cents per watt to panels, whereas growing energy output. Economies of scale will probably imply the know-how, if adopted, is most instantly profitable in large-scale tasks.
“SunDensity’s know-how is constructed on an progressive and promising thought,” stated Xiaojing Solar, a senior photo voltaic analyst at Wooden Mackenzie. “However, like all photo voltaic applied sciences, the important thing to profitable commercialization lies to find the candy spot between efficiency and price.”