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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 9

AURORA SOLAR, INC.
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Award Amount: $400,000
  • Project Summary: Aurora Solar is building a cloud-based optimization platform that automates the design, engineering and permit generation functions of a solar photovoltaic installation. The optimization function will consider usage data, utility rates, solar component characteristics, irradiance and shading data to generate optimal site-specific plans.
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.
NORWICH TECHNOLOGIES
  • Location: White River Junction, VT
  • Award Amount: $677,504
  • Project Summary: Norwich Technologies is working to commercialize its highly-efficient receiver design that enables the concentrating solar power (CSP) industry to realize higher outputs from parabolic trough plants, especially as the industry adopts higher temperature (higher-T) solar fields. Combined with a low-cost, high-accuracy collector, this solar field design will offer an unprecedented combination of high output and low price for trough CSP. In addition to working on the receiver, Norwich is working with project partners to build a collector (trough mirror) that will use a suspension structure instead of the traditional truss structure—dramatically reducing the amount of steel used in a CSP system which is a primary cost driver.
  • driving efficiency and scalability while reducing costs and mitigating risk.
PICASOLAR
  • Location: Fayetteville, AR
  • Award Amount: $800,000
  • Project Summary: Picasolar is developing a single step hydrogen treatment to optimize the emitter of n-type solar cells, resulting in improved conversion efficiency and reduced silver gridlines. The company has proven this technology on small area devices. During this award Picasolar will scale up its tool and process to handle commercial-sized solar cells.
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.
SAFECONNECT SOLAR
  • Location: Honolulu, HI
  • Award Amount: $498,918
  • Project Summary: SafeConnect Solar is building a prototype of its patent-pending device that pre-engineers hardware and software-based safety mechanisms into residential photovoltaic (PV) systems so that the system can be safely installed by non-specialized labor. SafeConnect's product reduces installation labor costs, will reduce customer acquisition, design, and permitting costs, and makes PV systems safer to install, own, and maintain.
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.
SOLAR GRID STORAGE
  • Location: Silver Spring, MD
  • Award Amount: $968,120
  • 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.
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.
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.
SUNLAYAR, INC.
  • Location: Walnut Creek, CA
  • Award Amount: $384,000
  • Project Summary: Sunlayar is developing a cloud-based software platform that utilizes augmented reality to decrease permitting, design and installation costs through the use of ground breaking visual computing technology. Sunlayar Augmented Reality Edition - as experienced through tablets and wearable tech - further simplifies the human-computer interactions necessary to drive Sunlayar's disruptive solar project lifecycle automation platform. This application will be able to pare down labor roles, and reduce the skill level and time required in the residential solar process through algorithmic business process automation.
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.
VILLAGE POWER FINANCE
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Award Amount: $500,000
  • Project Summary: Village Power Finance is implementing an innovative web platform and app to streamline the project development, fundraising and asset management processes for the dramatically under-served commercial and non-profit markets. This highly scalable model will leverage the investment power of community members, institutional investors, and corporate investors, while generating environmental improvements and investment opportunities at the community scale.

Incubator 8

Applied Novel Devices, Inc.
  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Amount: $500,000
  • Project Summary: Applied Novel Devices is developing a new device architecture and manufacturing technology to reduce fabrication cost of high efficiency silicon (Si) solar cells and thereby lower the levelized cost of energy (LCOE).
Brittmore Group, LLC
  • Location: San Jose, California
  • Amount: $684,708
  • Project Summary: The Brittmore Group is developing and demonstrating an automated system for pre-assembling frameless photovoltaic (PV) modules into larger panels using construction adhesives. The panels are then deployed across large-scale PV arrays by industrial robots that travel back and forth on the mounting rack. This technique promises a significant reduction in construction duration and cost. In addition, it is expected to accelerate market acceptance of frameless PV modules, which further reduces structural materials and electrical installation costs.
Clean Power Research 
  • Location: Kirkland, Washington
  • Amount: $945,529
  • Project Summary: Clean Power Research is developing a software platform that will significantly reduce the soft costs associated with interconnecting distributed generation and encourage adoption with visualization tools and economic metrics. This software platform builds on the PowerClerk family of software that has successfully streamlined processing for nearly 75% of distributed solar incentives nationwide. The platform has the potential to cut interconnection costs by up to 65% and reduce overall soft costs by up to $800 per installed system.
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.
EnergySage 
  • 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.
Folsom Labs 
  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Amount: $350,000
  • Project Summary: Folsom Labs makes software that helps PV system engineers quickly and efficiently design high-performance solar arrays by combining advanced performance modeling with cloud-based design tools. Under the SunShot award, Folsom Labs will extend its core HelioScope product to provide automatic evaluation of various system designs and component choices to quickly find the lowest LCOE approach for a given site.
Genability
  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Amount: $1,000,000
  • Project Summary: Genability is developing solar savings reports that installers and developers can deliver to their customers.  These savings reports are used by solar companies at the time of the sale to communicate to potential solar savings, as well as after install to deliver what actual savings have been achieved.  Genability is also developing a "Verified by Genability" certification that will go with these proposals and actual reports.  This verification will serve as a 3rd party assessment of potential and actual solar savings.  "Verified by Genability" will be the trusted 3rd party in communicating solar savings.
Geostellar 
  • Location: Martinsburg, West Virginia
  • Amount: $750,000
  • Project Summary: Geostellar is streamlining the procurement, financing, installation, and maintenance of solar arrays with the creation of a Solar Project Record. This will be available to homeowners, installers, government agencies, and financing companies through Web and mobile applications. The Solar Record provides application developers with important data, including the estimated cost of solar energy production on a particular rooftop, utility rates, load profiles, incentives, property ownership, equipment configuration, installation, and permitting requirements, for individual properties across the United States. Elements of the Solar Record will be updated through the application programming interface over the lifecycle of the solar array, providing valuable analytics on the performance and pricing of solar goods and services for future product development and the development of a robust securitization market.
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.
kWh Analytics 
  • Location: Oakland, California
  • Amount: $450,000
  • Project Summary: kWh Analytics is building big data information tools to help investors understand risk in the new solar asset class. Backed by the largest independent database of solar asset performance in the United States, kWh Analytics enables investors to deploy more capital with confidence.
Renewable Power Conversion 
  • Location: San Luis Obispo, California
  • Amount: $1,003,605
  • Project Summary: RPC is developing an environmentally sealed inverter featuring plug-and-play installation and a maintenance-free lifetime equal to that of PV modules. The Macro-Micro is a modular 17-kW inverter that provides high system MPPT granularity and high system up time. Power is converted with a CEC efficiency of 98.5% and low-loss system intrafield power collection is accomplished at 600 Vac. This distributed multi-string inverter provides multi-megawatt PV projects with a low LCOE alternative to large central inverters.
Simply Civic
  • Location: Parker, Colorado
  • Amount: $400,000
  • Project Summary: Simply Civic is streamlining the management of solar soft cost requests through an online application available to jurisdictions nationwide. The tool will seamlessly enable jurisdictions and installers to track the status of solar projects while making it faster and simpler to complete required paperwork.
SolarNexus, Inc.
  • Location: Oakland, California 
  • Amount: $496,987 
  • Project Summary: SolarNexus and its partners are working to integrate a range of software used for customer acquisition, system design, permitting, and monitoring -- resulting in the industry's first ecosystem of interoperable software applications. The integration of key functionality from separate software vendors will significantly eliminate data re-entry and enhance the productivity of solar professionals with a simplified software experience. The ecosystem will leverage the Integrated Energy Project model, an existing, publicly-available data standard for the transfer of solar project information. 
SMASHsolar 
  • Location: El Cerrito, California
  • Amount: $500,000
  • Project Summary: SMASHsolar is working to break down barriers to solar by developing a proprietary, scalable PV mounting system that installs in half the time with half the parts and allows an array to easily expand over time. This project is developing and testing an integrated mounting system that shifts field work to the factory, resulting in a simplified installation process that drives down balance of systems costs. The product design will ultimately provide a refined and easy-to-use solar power product for homeowners.
Solar Census 
  • Location: Walnut Creek, California
  • Amount: $735,072
  • Project Summary: Solar Census is leveraging its patented algorithms to produce the first commercial-grade online shade tool that enables salespeople and system designers to customize PV systems in 3D and create highly accurate quotes in minutes. The software will streamline the sales and design process, reduce change orders and soft costs, and increase close rates and homeowner satisfaction.
Sun Number 
  • Location: Deephaven, Minnesota
  • Amount: $1,000,000
  • Project Summary: Sun Number is analyzing rooftops to determine the best roofs and the best locations on roofs for solar. This data is used to create Sun Number Scores—a tool to educate consumers about the solar potential of their home. This data is combined with other data about the roof (i.e. age, material) and information about the owner of the building (i.e. behavioral modeling) to qualify properties and lower the cost of customer acquisition.
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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Incubator 7

Solaflect Energy
  • Location: Norwich, Vermont
  • Amount: $1,000,000
  • Project Summary: Solaflect Energy has developed a low-cost Suspension HeliostatTM that dramatically reduces steel usage by utilizing steel cables to stabilize mirror panels rather than steel truss structures. The SunShot project will focus on continued development of the heliostat design, design for robotic manufacture, reduction of manufacturing and installation labor requirements, and the transition to high volume commercialization.

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