Energy Technologies/Renewable Energy
El Monte, CA
TSC MEMBER INSTITUTION(S):
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Defense
National Science Foundation
SOLARMER ENERGY, INC.
ABOUT THE COMPANY:
Using technology developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Solarmer Energy seeks to overcome one of the significant barriers to broader use of solar technology — its cost. According to Solarmer, their solar panels have the potential to bring down the cost of solar energy to be on par with conventional fuel costs.
The company’s flexible plastic solar cells are made using inexpensive organic materials, rendering them lightweight, transparent, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally friendly. These attributes further open the door to using renewable solar energy in many applications where conventional silicon solar cell technology would not currently be a fit. Portable electronics — cell phones, laptops, digital music players, portable video games, etc. — are one example. Plastic solar cells have the potential to extend the portable power of these devices. In addition to consumer and portable electronics, Solarmer is targeting building-integrated photovoltaics, smart fabrics, and sensor networks for its organic photovoltaic technology.
UNIVERSITY-BASED RESEARCH CONNECTION:
Solarmer Energy, Inc. was founded in 2006 to commercialize a portfolio of solar cell technologies developed by UCLA Materials Science Professor Yang, PhD. Solarmer has licensed seven polymer solar cell patents registered by Yang’s lab at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA and is in the process of licensing several other key patents based on his research from the University of California.
Former UCLA doctoral students Gang Li and and Vishal Shrotriya, who both worked on polymer solar cell technology as part of Professor Yang’s research group, now lead product development at Solarmer Energy. Solarmer continues to collaborate with UCLA scientists in the development of next generation solar technologies and provides partial financial support for continuing research on the UCLA campus.
ROLE OF FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDING:
The National Science Foundation and the US Department of Defense Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) have supported Professor Yang’s research.
Read The Full Report Here