Solaires is a team of scientists, engineers, and business professionals working to make solar energy more accessible by developing photovoltaic solutions that contribute to minimising the planet’s environmental footprint. We provide a product for new and established solar cell manufacturers who need to meet the market demands for applications which require flexible solar cells with higher energy conversion efficiency. Our Perovskite-based Ink (Solar InkTM) is an ink that replaces the silicon in solar modules. It is a stable solution that can be applied on flexible substrates in a low-cost and sustainable process that achieves two times higher energy conversion efficiency, 50 per cent lower cost, and 40 per cent lower GHG emissions. A great solution for manufacturers interested in growing by improving their supply chain, offering a better, innovative, high-efficiency, cleaner, and affordable solution.
Tell us about yourself?
For as long as I can remember, since I was a little child, I have always loved to find solutions to problems. When my parents took my sister and me to the beach, I remember spending lots of time building sand castles. However, my creations were engineering challenges with ways to capture the water from the sea waves while defying the laws of physics. As a grown-up, I became an entrepreneur creating and selling businesses. Today, I know that is called a “serial entrepreneur”. Over time, I became a well-established inventor, investor, and researcher. I have been successfully leading challenging technology endeavours. I have launched over a dozen leading technology products worldwide. I’m the named inventor in over 100 patents, and I have led research and manufacturing teams on four continents. I have a BSc. in International Trade.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Trust my gut and take all the opportunities I can manage while knowing when to exit or quit.
What problem does your business solve?
Conventional solar module manufacturing uses silicon as the light-harvesting component for solar panels. The fabrication process for silicon solar panels is complex, expensive, and produces high greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, silicon solar cells are rigid, heavy, and opaque, and therefore they have limited applications. After 50 years of technological refinement, silicon solar cells have reached their peak energy conversion efficiency. Perovskite solar cells enable solar panel manufacturers to meet market demands for flexible and lightweight solar panels for innovative energy applications, including wearables, smart gadgets, and building integration. Perovskite-based inks are lower-cost and produce 40 per cent fewer GHG emissions than silicon. Our products, Solar InkTM and our manufacturing process using Solar InkTM at the core use perovskites to expand the market for solar module manufacturing.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We dream of capturing solar energy from everywhere to have a world where solar energy becomes the most viable renewable energy source, so we are working towards making solar more affordable, greener, and more accessible. We are creating innovative photovoltaic technology and solutions for a cleaner world.
What is your magic sauce?
Our magic sauce is our unique and patented Solar InkTM composition. Our scientists have found a way to address the biggest challenge in the industry. Different from our competitors, we have managed to break the barrier to commercialising perovskite-based inks to create solar cells.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Solaires aims to be a leader in the next generation photovoltaic industry with its perovskite technology. We are planning to exit by acquisition in five to six years. Potential acquirers include current players in the perovskite market, as well as companies in the photovoltaic industry.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Starting up and operating our business during the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most difficult challenges we have faced as a business. We started as a team in February of 2020. As the pandemic struck, we could not utilise our office space and our access to the labs also became limited. Our hiring was also affected as we had resources joining us from abroad who could not finalise their immigration paperwork due to Covid-19. We overcame this huge challenge due to dedication and efficient work of our team members, who worked remote and utilised the lab facilities as best as possible. We implemented new tools for online communication, document collaboration, and supervision.