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Current SunShot Incubator Projects

Projects funded under the SunShot Incubator Program allow start-up businesses to yield breakthrough technologies and game-changing insights. The following projects are in progress.

Learn more about past projects.

Incubator 10 

Amtech Systems, Inc.

Location: Tempe, AZ
SunShot Award Amount: $930,664
Awardee Cost Share: $236,000
Project Summary: Amtech is developing a low-cost field-effect passivation technology in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology. It uses a novel, concept-proven method of charge introduction into a surface passivation film to improve cell efficiency in advanced c-Si solar cells and ultimately reduce the cost of the electricity. The key objective of this project is to optimize this technology, including passivation film stacks and cell structures, in order to maximize the charging effect and the charge reliability. This project is expected to further the commercialization of the technology while introducing new equipment to the solar industry.

Aurora Solar, Inc.

Location: Palo Alto, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $400,000
Awardee Cost Share: $100,000
Project Summary: Aurora will be developing a web-based application that quickly and precisely calculates the solar potential of a building’s roof. The results of this application will increase the ability of solar firms to accurately assess large volumes of potential sites and will increase their closing rates.

CertainSolar

Location:  Boston, Massachusetts
Amount Awarded: $490,390
Awardee Cost Share: $122,600
Project Summary: CertainSolar applies big data analytics, behavioral economics, and modern portfolio theory to reduce solar soft costs and improve solar bankability. Through its SunShot Incubator award, CertainSolar is developing a first-of-its-kind finance technology that quantifies and forecasts risks stemming from uncertainty in future energy prices. CertainSolar will create a new method for allocating financial risks and will demonstrate this technology through a pilot project. 

Concurrent Design, Inc.

Location: Austin, TX
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $250,000
Project Summary: The Energy Switch is a device that will clear the path for widespread adoption of residential microgrids that feature solar plus storage. Installed as the “single point of permitting,” the Energy Switch equips a home for plug-and-play expansion of PV, storage, back-up generation, intelligent load control, and automated islanding. The Energy Switch eliminates redundant components, custom onsite design, and labor costs to simplify the installation of residential microgrids. The Energy Switch works with legacy residential infrastructure and appliances as well as new construction and smart appliances. Concurrent will develop a commercial version of this transformative technology, turning the residential microgrid from a potential problem for the grid operator into a grid-friendly customer endpoint that can integrate seamlessly into any grid operator business model.

EdgePower

Location: Aspen, CO
SunShot Award Amount: $495,248
Awardee Cost Share: $143,000
Project Summary: EdgePower is creating hardware and software to integrate the controllable HVAC and lighting loads of a building with forecast and solar PV production, thereby better matching PV supply with building demand and reducing peak demand at the utility meter. This project will combine site-based solar forecast data from Clean Power Research with forecast and real time net load data on a single commercial building test site. The project will quantify the utility savings of using load control to smooth the commercial PV customer’s net load profile, and also highlight the potential value of integrating forecasting and load control technologies with battery storage.

ENACT Systems Inc.

Location: Pleasanton, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $498,965
Awardee Cost Share: $498,964
Project Summary: ENACT is developing PACE Solar Accelerator, or PSA, an end-to-end platform for automation of sales, operations, design, and financing of projects that leverage Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. The PSA platform accelerates sales and financing volumes and reduces the risks and costs associated with origination, underwriting, and overall administration of PACE-backed solar projects. PSA enables developers and PACE program lenders to access the platform and benefit from increased workflow automation, improved operating margins, and more rapid scale-up.

ENACT Systems Inc.

Location: Pleasanton, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $449,671
Awardee Cost Share: $185,889
Project Summary: ENACT is developing an end-to-end, operational workflow analytics platform to further expedite sales and installation of solar PV projects. Adding workflow analytics enables solar developers and installers to gain ‘live’ functional guidance during project sales and delivery, leveraging data analytics that reduce human error and adding insights that help decision-making. The end result will be to provide business process automation and benchmarking for all critical workflow steps for both residential and commercial solar installations.

Folsom Labs

Location: San Francisco, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $296,000
Awardee Cost Share: $301,925
Project Summary: Folsom Labs will develop a software-based Solar Permit Generator – a software engine that automatically generates many of the standard documents that inspectors and AHJs require for solar arrays in their jurisdiction. This software will leverage much of the system design information already included in HelioScope, a design and engineering software platform offered by Folsom Labs. HelioScope is already used by hundreds of installers for preliminary engineering and proposal stages of projects, and the natural next step is to take the designs generated in HelioScope and extend them to permit documents. By doing so, this project will help all U.S. solar installers work more effectively, while also bringing down the installed cost of solar. Each solar array will require fewer man-hours, and will have fewer opportunities for human errors. This will also reduce the turnaround time to deploy solar arrays, helping solar developers increase their throughput and improve their profitability.

GeoCF LLC

Location: Austin, TX
SunShot Award Amount: $773,500
Awardee Cost Share: $773,500
Project Summary: GeoCF’s Smart Power Maps solution is a comprehensive software platform for utility-scale solar project evaluation and development. Smart Power Maps gives solar developers, utilities, and investors the ability to bring large-scale solar projects to market faster with lower cost of capital. Users can comprehensively evaluate tens of thousands of potential projects simultaneously and manage project development for the best sites through all stages of development. By streamlining and combining the financial modeling and geographic constraints analysis steps of the due-diligence process, the tool cuts weeks from project timelines for initial screening and can reduce project development costs significantly.

Halo Industries, Inc.

Location: San Mateo, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $256,359
Project Summary: Halo Industries will use precise applied forces for the cleaving of silicon ingots leading to the ability to fabricate silicon sheets and wafers with any desired thickness. This new technique can drastically lower the price of these silicon products by eliminating the large kerf losses in traditional production with a low cost, high throughput process that can manufacture wafers of thickness ranging from 10 µm to 200 µm and above. This breakthrough will revolutionize the silicon photovoltaics industry by reducing material costs and enabling a new generation of devices that can directly compete with all other energy sources on an economic basis that does not require government subsidies.

kWh Analytics

Location: San Francisco, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $599,974
Awardee Cost Share: $600,022
Project Summary: About 35% of American citizens hold “non-prime” FICO scores < 680, which restricts their ability to take on a solar lease, power purchase agreement (PPA), or loan that has enabled tens of thousands of other “prime” citizens to go solar. Given the uniquely attractive nature of solar assets, kWh Analytics believes that there is a tremendous opportunity to use data analytics to prove that FICO is merely a contributing factor, rather than the only factor, that influences customer repayment. kWh Analytics will create the solar industry’s largest database of financial payment history for solar leases, PPAs, and loans, similar to what kWh Analytics has already done for solar energy production data under Incubator 8. kWh Analytics will also identify other key sources of data that could impact likelihood of repayment and integrate with those sources where possible. This data set will serve as a crucial pre-requisite for developing a statistically significant, independent understanding of how to safely underwrite solar in a way that also expands the total addressable market. Underwriting ratings and the underlying data can then be licensed to solar firms as a profitable service.

Nevados Engineering, Inc.

Location: San Francisco, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $773,124
Awardee Cost Share: $193,281
Project Summary: Nevados Engineering is creating a single axis tracker to help solar developers build projects on lands that are raised and uneven. By creating a terrain-agnostic solution, the single axis tracker will enable developers to use land that typically would not be considered, creating more site options, eliminating major construction costs, and increasing power generation.

PowerScout, Inc.

Location: Pleasanton, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $1,500,000
Project Summary: PowerScout is a cloud-based big data analytics platform for the solar industry designed to disrupt the current paradigm of customer acquisition, thereby catalyzing the exponential growth of distributed solar energy resources. PowerScout’s objective is to deliver a decrease in customer acquisition costs in order to decrease the levelized cost of energy. PowerScout has brought together a team of the best solar credit analysts and sales and marketing minds and empowered them with the ability to drive better sales, marketing, and underwriting decisions with large scale data-analysis and machine learning. Consequently, the software platform enables more efficient sales and marketing and more accurate customer underwriting. This in turn extends solar financing options to more customers and removes the cost and time barriers presented by the status quo of a multi-week sales process by empowering residential consumers to acquire fully customized solar power generation systems online in five minutes.

Ra Power Management, Inc.

Location: Oakland, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $125,000
Project Summary: RPM is developing a cloud based software platform that manages the financial and operational functions of third-party financed solar projects throughout their lifecycles. RPM’s software streamlines and automates the sales, financing, and management of a portfolio of solar assets. The software will help solar developers automate the most difficult aspects of asset management, leading to increased transparency, efficiency, and reduction in human error. More importantly, the platform will help developers save money by improving their operating margins. A well designed, scalable, and fully integrated solar management platform is needed in order for third-party financed solar to be widely adopted. With the addition of solar lease securitization, the need is even greater for timely, accurate financial information for investors, auditors, and regulators. The RPM platform offers an all-in-one solution by providing pricing and customer bids plus operational and financial asset management. The RPM platform will drive down the cost of financing and managing solar assets, resulting in a lowered cost of capital and lower energy costs for the end customer.

SafeConnect Solar

Location: Honolulu, HI
SunShot Award Amount: $999,893
Awardee Cost Share: $252,009
Project Summary: SafeConnect Solar is commercializing electronic balance-of-system componentry that allows safer residential PV systems to be installed more quickly. In doing so, it dramatically lowers installation costs, making PV more cost-competitive with utility-provided electricity in existing markets and opening up new ones.

SenSanna Incorporated

Location: Arnold, MD
SunShot Award Amount: $500,000
Awardee Cost Share: $141,526
Project Summary: SenSanna Incorporated has adapted a low-cost, rugged, solid-state technology widely used to filter radio frequency signals in mobile phones to produce multi-sensor systems that operate wirelessly and without batteries to measure a wide range of parameters in harsh environments. This project will develop a prototype sensor system for wireless measurement of temperature, voltage, current, and relative phase on distribution grid power lines and transformers. Current limits on connecting PV sources to the grid can be raised or eliminated without destabilizing the grid through the use of widespread cost-effective distributed wireless monitoring systems that enable operators to understand grid conditions on a local level, analyze stresses introduced by PV fluctuations, and develop local energy storage and control strategies.

Sistine Solar, Inc.

Location: Cambridge, MA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $250,000
Project Summary: Sistine Solar has developed a patent-pending technology called SolarSkin to create solar panels of absolutely any color, shade, or pattern. This low-cost, scalable technology can open up the residential rooftop market in the US to the 25 million households that are part of homeowner associations (HOAs). HOAs often have restrictive covenants that prevent, or make it time consuming and expensive, for homeowners to install solar due to perceived insufficient aesthetics. This technology removes this barrier by making the solar blend in with rooftops while still producing energy comparable with mainstream blue/black crystalline solar panels. Further, the technology opens up the possibility of using solar as a branding/advertising asset, generating alternative revenue streams that absent of government subsidies can achieve payback in under 3 years. This can stimulate the commercial solar carport market. The technology can increase market adoption of solar by removing aesthetic barriers at low cost and creating significant new opportunities for local manufacturers and installers.

SolarRetina, LLC

Location: Washington, DC
SunShot Award Amount: $499,894
Awardee Cost Share: $125,000
Project Summary: SolarRetina will fill the information gap and provide distribution grid planners with the certainty they need to integrate large amounts of solar by developing a beta version of the SolarRetina, a tool that provides on-demand, evidence-based analysis of the grid impacts of distributed solar derived from real-life, real-time solar generation data crowd-sourced from customer-sited solar installations. Working with distribution grid planning partners, they will build a commercially-ready beta version of the SolarRetina that will automatically acquire and integrate high-resolution solar data from a network of solar sites, and using that data, will provide superior analysis of the impacts and effects of distributed solar on their partners’ distribution grids. The analysis will provide the precision, realism, and comfort that distribution planners need to remove technical and institutional barriers to ubiquitous deployment. 

Sunfield Semiconductor Inc.

Location: Calabasas, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $144,000
Awardee Cost Share: $36,000
Project Summary: Module-Level Monitoring (MLM) can reduce operations and management (O&M) costs in solar power systems by detecting and locating maintenance problems early. MLM is also critical for maintaining the highest system performance over time. MLM requires a means of communication between each solar module and a remote computer or user interface device. Two such means are currently used: radio and Power-Line Communication (PLC). The awardees introduce a third means of communication: low frequency magnetic fields. This is wireless, but not radio. Magnetic fields penetrate non-ferrous conductors like PV cells, rather than being reflected. Also, magnetic fields don't propagate like radio waves do, so magnetic communication (mag com) has very short range, in this case typically less than three feet. Mag com costs less than radio or PLC. Furthermore, mag com may be able to detect and locate series arc faults at a significantly lower cost. Present methods of detecting series arc faults only determine which string contains the fault, but the new method can determine the specific solar module where the arc fault is occurring. This lowers O&M costs by avoiding a time-consuming search for the fault, and getting the system back on line sooner.

SunPower Corporation

Location: Davis, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $681,676
Awardee Cost Share: $1,240,925
Project Summary: Though utility-scale solar has grown in past years, innovation in tools available to project developers and managers has lagged behind. We still rely mostly on humans to manage complex data for decisions ranging from project selection to construction management to operational performance. SunPower sees opportunities to change the way that companies collect, filter, and process data by using a combination of software and hardware automation. The impact of automated tools could lower utility-scale PV system LCOE from balance-of-systems cost savings caused by more intelligent decisions during project design, more efficient deployments, and faster construction. These savings will bring the industry closer to achieving the DOE’s 2020 cost target of 6 cents per kWh.

Sunrun Inc.

Location: San Francisco, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $900,000
Awardee Cost Share: $900,000
Project Summary: Sunrun Inc., in collaboration with Clean Power Research (CPR), will develop and commercialize the first end-to-end system for automatic permit set generation, submission, and approval. This platform will enable residential solar project developers to automatically generate permit sets and allow them to submit these packages electronically to AHJs for review and approval.

UtilityAPI

Location: Oakland, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $762,530
Awardee Cost Share: $1,146,290
Project Summary: UtilityAPI is automating the process of authorizing, collecting, and cleaning electricity data from utilities. Access to standardized data means a larger sales funnel, a frictionless customer journey, and easy data verification for financing for solar.

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INCUBATOR 9

CLEAN ENERGY COLLECTIVE
  • Location: Carbondale, CO
  • Award Amount: $699,999
  • Project Summary: Clean Energy Collective is developing a national online portal to provide access to proven community solar solutions. NCSP (National Community Solar Platform) will make the resources needed to navigate the complex legal, financial, and transactional issues associated with community solar available to EPCs (engineering, procurement, and construction), utilities, and community advocates. This will dramatically lower the costs required to enter the market and allow for the rapid expansion of community solar nationwide.
FARADAY
  • Location: Middlebury, VT
  • Award Amount: $1,000,000
  • Project Summary: Faraday is developing a data management platform that uncovers superior customer acquisition strategies to order to improve lead conversion rates. The map-driven tool includes nearly a terabyte of data on 100 million U.S. households and leverages advanced machine-learning algorithms to pinpoint households most likely to invest in solar. Solar installers, financers, and original equipment manufacturers will use Faraday to explore markets, construct audiences, launch outreach campaigns, and track and compare results for measurable improvements in return on investment.
INTRINSIQ MATERIALS, INC.
  • Location: Rochester, NY
  • Award Amount: $450,000
  • Project Summary: Intrinsiq Materials nanoparticle based electronic inks enable solar cell and electronic device manufacturers to print copper and Nickel silicide in open air at a fraction of the price of silver. Intrinsiq's lead free additive printing process reduces material waste and harsh chemical use, providing manufacturers with a greener solution.
KWH ANALYTICS
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Award Amount: $500,000
  • Project Summary: kWh Analytics will create a risk management software platform centered on a predictive score ("kWh Score") that enables investors to statistically quantify production risk for any solar investment in the United States. The kWh Score will be the output of a cutting-edge statistical model that is built atop the kWh Database, which is the solar industry's largest independent database of historical operating performance data (40,000+ systems).
MOSAIC
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Award Amount: $650,000
  • Project Summary: Mosaic is introducing a simple, low-cost home solar loan product and installer platform integrated into residential solar developers' sales processes, which will lower capital costs and dramatically increase project leads and close rates for partners, driving down overhead and customer acquisition costs.
QADO ENERGY
  • Location: Summit, NJ
  • Award Amount: $1,749,892
  • Project Summary: Qado Energy's advanced distribution analytics platform GridUnityTM will be used by utilities and distributed energy resource (DER) developers to accelerate the engineering and economic decision making required for the reliable interconnection of DER from months to minutes. The capability to radically reduce the time it takes to analyze complex situations and make fact-based decisions reduces stakeholder risk and enables a sea change in business operations and customer engagement.
SIGHTEN
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Award Amount: $1,000,000
  • Project Summary: Sighten is building a comprehensive software platform to streamline and consolidate the disparate tools currently used to deploy and manage capital in distributed generation solar assets. The platform spans the entire lifecycle of a solar asset from tools to improve origination and pricing to features that automate ongoing reporting and analytics,
SINEWATTS
  • Location: Charlotte, NC
  • Award Amount: $1,000,000
  • Project Summary: SineWatts is transforming the PV power plant for mainstream generation with its patent pending Inverter Molecule that completely eliminates any inverter footprint by miniaturizing and siliconizing the hardware into the PV panel junction box. A SineWatts power plant will have 70% lower landed inverter cost while providing advanced grid assist for next generation grid integration requirements.
SMASH SOLAR, INC.
  • Location: Richmond, CA
  • Award Amount: $1,000,000
  • Project Summary: Smash Solar is developing a simple, snap-together, module-integrated photovoltaic (PV) mounting system which will dramatically reduce the time, effort and skill needed to install rooftop solar. Smash Solar will focus on refining their design, engaging in customer trials and beginning certification and code compliance testing.
STEM
  • Location: Millbrae, CA
  • Award Amount: $875,000
  • Project Summary: Stem is developing a software platform for energy storage evaluation and automated storage system control. The project will improve the application of distributed storage in areas with high photovoltaic penetration while lowering grid integration costs and improving grid stability.
SUNDOG SOLAR TECHNOLOGY
  • Location: Arvada, CO
  • Award Amount: $420,962
  • Project Summary: Sundog Solar Technology is developing the world's first high-performance front-surface solar reflector using low-cost high-volume manufacturing methods. Nanoparticles are incorporated into the reflector to enhance abrasion resistance and reduce cleaning requirements. System costs are reduced, and overall system efficiency is enhanced because more heat is provided to the working fluids.
SUNEDISON (FORMERLY SOLAR GRID STORAGE)
  • Location: Silver Spring, MD
  • Award Amount: $968,120
    (Inactive)
  • Project Summary: Solar Grid Storage will develop a Solar Storage Operations Center (SSOC) to address the unique needs of managing grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) + storage assets. The SSOC will make it possible to bring together multiple storage sites and enhance grid stability with every new PV + storage resource installed, all the while reducing deployment costs. A scalable solution, the SSOC will help mitigate concerns about high-penetration PV deployment by enabling cost-effective control of residential, commercial, and utility-scale PV + storage systems.
SUNGAGE FINANCIAL
  • Location: Boston , MA
  • Award Amount: $700,000
  • Project Summary: Sungage Financial is a marketplace that provides homeowners with easy, online access to low-cost financing for solar equipment. Through its pilot activities in MA and CT, Sungage has gained expertise in how to meet the needs of consumers, installers, and capital providers in order to successfully and efficiently deliver financing solutions. Sungage will expand through partnerships with solar installation companies in active solar markets nationwide.
SUNPOWER, INC.
  • Location: Richmond, CA
  • Award Amount: $585,000
  • Project Summary: SunPower is developing a module-level power electronics device for lowering day one soft costs in utility scale solar. This project focuses on device development, field testing, and preparing the device for high volume manufacturing.
SUNVESTMENT GROUP
  • Location: Tully and Cortland, NY
  • Award Amount: $398,379
  • Project Summary: Sunvestment Group is developing a web-based service platform and partner program that will allow prospective site hosts, solar developers, and investors to connect and access the documentation templates necessary to structure and complete Community-based Power Purchase Agreements (CPPA). Sunvestment Group's approach provides the potential to significantly expand PPA usage in the underserved mid-market segment (20 kW–1 MW), obtain cost of capital reductions of 20-50% through CPPAs, while keeping investment opportunities and returns within the community and leading to a local economic development multiplier effect.

Incubator 8

DEMETER POWER
  • Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Amount: $500,000
  • Project Summary: Demeter is offering solar lease or services agreement financing collected as an assessment on the property tax bill: PACE3P. By securing payments to the property, not the offtaker, PACE3P lowers LCOE by 20%, makes more deals "bankable" without a corporate guarantee, and enables the first uniform, scalable financing for commercial solar.
ENERGY SAGE
  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Amount: $1,250,000
  • Project Summary: The EnergySage Marketplace transforms the complex solar PV shopping process into a simple, online comparison-shopping experience. The unique, innovative platform provides unprecedented levels of choice, transparency, and information at no cost to consumers, who can compare quotes from multiple pre-screened installers in an apples-to-apples matrix format across all financing options. EnergySage slashes time and effort for both consumers and installers, significantly reducing customer acquisition costs, boosting consumer confidence, and accelerating mass market solar adoption.
INFINITE INVENTION
  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennyslvania
  • Amount: $499,999
  • Project Summary: The Solar Socket is a device that adds a socket for plugging in a solar PV system between the electric meter and meter case. It streamlines the installation process by reducing wiring costs, scheduling requirements, and site inspection time and allows for swapping in new technologies as they emerge. In addition, a version with onboard metering and communications lets the power flow directly into the utility grid.
SUNRUN INC.
  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Amount: $1,600,000
  • Project Summary: Sunrun is creating an integrated system that will streamline solar project development through automatic design, costing, simulation, proposal generation, pricing, permitting, and field change management. This end-to-end platform will optimize system performance and greatly reduce project cost and lead-to-cash process time.

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