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Three Startups Target Cost and Efficiency of Solar Systems


Construction workers fix solar panels for solar power plant near OlchingThe energy market is probably one of the most competitive branches of the economy. New, more efficient and much cheaper technologies emerge every day, constantly posing challenges to small and large energy producers. Very interesting to follow is the solar energy market.

Although innovations in the field of harnessing the power of the sun are introduced on the market literally every day, the industry still remains uncompetitive economically, simply because of the cost of generated electricity. This is also the reason why many of the new solar start-ups have cost and efficiency on the top their priority list, and the following three of them seem to have found the winning formula.

The first solar startup, Mosaic, is essentially a solar energy investment platform. The founders aimed to attract people with innovative ideas for mid-size solar projects, who can share them through this platform, and in return Mosaic tries to obtain funding for them. The difference between this and a crowdfunding site is that the funding is a loan, which then have to be paid back, at a competitive rate.

Unlike a loan from a bank that tends to give loans to large-scale solar projects only, a person with lower income can now fit a residential or a small business solar installation. Since the launch of the company back in January 2011, the guys have managed to find investors for 2,000 clients, and have managed to process more than $4 million.

Next in line is QBotix. Earlier this year we told you about the Qbotix Solbot, the robot that can tilt solar panels, so that they can generate nearly 40% more electricity when compared to a fixed solar panel with the same characteristics. The company has already sold five of these to solar projects in the U.S. and Japan. With their invention they surely bring great value to the highly-competitive market, where every cent  per watt makes a difference.

And the last, but definitely not least company that brings innovation to the solar market, is Sol Voltaics. The Swedish venture, which you might remember from earlier this year, relies on nanotechnology to build cheap and efficient solar cell modules. The gallium arsenide nanowires, which are incorporated into the solar cells, are the same as the highly expensive ones that make solar cells highly reliable and efficient, but Sol Voltaics makes them much cheaper.

The process that they developed is called Aerotaxy, and mixes vapors in the air to produce the nanowires at a much lower cost. The guys also managed to develop solar cells that use less of the material and still convert the same amount of light efficiently. The company has set a target to hit commercial production and market by 2015, when they should have around $17 million from various investors.

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