QD Solar addresses climate change challenges with high efficiency solar

Via the Rochester Business Journal

Dan Shea, CEO of QD Solar
Dan Shea, CEO of QD Solar

QD Solar is developing a new kind of high efficiency solar that performs well beyond that of silicon solar. The company is one of 10 finalist companies with optics, photonics, and imaging-enabled (OPI) technologies that’s working with NextCorps’ Luminate NY accelerator as part of its fifth cohort. Each company received an initial investment of $100,000 and is participating in the six-month program, which helps the selected companies speed the commercialization of their technologies and businesses. On October 19, 2022, at the Finals, they will compete for up to $2 million in follow-on investment. Funding for the $25 million program is being provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

“Our cohort participants are in the final weeks of their program and are completing the due diligence required by partners and investors to assess the impact of their innovations and potential return on investment,” said Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, managing director of Luminate. “QD Solar’s technology can be a world leader in the clean energy space. Not only will it offer much higher efficiency for a lower cost, but it can bring the benefits of solar to many more applications due to the solar sheets being more flexible and lightweight than existing options.”

We caught up with Dan Shea, QD Solar’s CEO, to discuss how the company was created and how its technology can be applied.

Tell us about your company.

QD Solar was founded by my two colleagues, Professor Ted Sargent and Dr. Sjoerd Hoogland from the University of Toronto. Conventional silicon solar cells don’t absorb all of the light from the sun’s spectrum. They are limited to wavelengths of up to 1100 nm, which prevents them from harvesting solar light at InfraRed(IR) wavelengths. As a result, up to 25 percent of solar power is wasted. In contrast, QD Solar has developed tandem solar cells that are made from perovskites and quantum dots that absorb light in the visible part of the solar spectrum, and quantum dots, harvesting the IR part of the sun’s spectrum. Once combined, this boosts solar cell efficiency by an additional 20 to 25 percent. Our high-power density solar cell sheets will allow solar panel manufacturers–our customers–to charge premium pricing for their products and hence increase their profit margins significantly.

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