Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” just backed a new startup project by Rayton Solar that aims to cut costs of solar panel manufacturing by using particle accelerator technology.
Founder Andrew Yakub has been thinking about this project since starting Rayton Solar in 2012 while a design engineer at the UCLA Particle Beam Physics Laboratory.
Rayton uses float-zone silicon which is the highest grade available and is also used by NASA. The company uses a particular accelerator to make extremely small wafers which cuts the cost to manufacture solar panels more than 60%, while producing a panel that is 25% more efficient. “We can make 100 times as many solar panels for the same amount of silicon that’s used to make just one panel today.” Yacub said. “We can also use the higher quality, electronics grade silicon, and when you use that kind you get a 25 percent increase in sunlight conversion efficiency. So that means 25 percent less panels on your roof or in a solar farm. Twenty-five percent less land usage, and it also lowers the cost of the installation and racking systems.”
The project has already received more than $7 million in reservations in a Reg A+ crowdfunding campaign, and now even the approval of celebrity scientist Bill Nye who made this video to help them.
Rayton currently has an accelerator for this project on the way, arriving about 9 months from now. Once that’s working properly, they predict about another 12-18 months before they’ll be producing the modules commercially.
According to an estimate, the solar panel market is set to grow from $24.2 billion to more than $180 billion by 2021. The global energy market is projected to grow to over $10.4 trillion by 2020. With renewables becoming the primary source of power generation, Rayton wants to be one of the the leaders in the solar sector.
“I believe that by the year 2050, we’re going to have over 50 percent of the world’s energy coming from solar installations,” Yakub said. “And this technology will help get us there faster. We need companies to figure out how to mass produce this, at an increased level of quality and a decreased level of cost.”