Look to the light
An Oregon startup has developed a solar energy system that can harvest about 50 percent more energy per square foot of rooftop space on commercial buildings than conventional systems. Inspired Light, LLC, uses three-junction concentrated solar photovoltaic (PV) cells that is already returning efficiency rates reaching 30 percent, compared to the 15 - 18 percent efficiency typical of conventional PV solar panels.
Aided by a recent Commercialization Grant from the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST), Inspired Light will be able to address several technical hurdles before the product will ready for market, including an anti-reflective (AR) coating capable of reducing the amount of sunlight reflected off the system.
The grant is part of $1 million in Commercialization Grants that Oregon BEST is awarding this year to speed commercialization of the state’s most promising clean technologies being co-developed by university researchers and private businesses.
“Solar energy has the potential to fill a major part of the world’s energy needs, especially if we can boost the efficiency, so we’re pleased our Commercialization Program is helping an Oregon company solve that challenge and ultimately create jobs and advance Oregon’s position as a cleantech innovator,” said David Kenney, President and Executive Director of Oregon BEST.
Previous BEST grantees are paying it forward, paving the way for Inspired Light’s success. The AR work is being done by Oregon BEST researcher Chih-hung Chang, an Oregon State University professor of chemical engineering who directs the Oregon Process Innovation Center for Sustainable Solar Cell Manufacturing (OPIC).