Rayton Solar raises $1 million for reduced-silicone, ‘laser beam’ solar tech

U.S.-based Rayton Solar Inc is claiming that’s latest innovation (with currently $1 million in seed funding) will make solar energy cheaper than energy produced by fossil fuels.

Rayton’s claim is based on the amount of silicon it is using. Rayton says it is using only four microns of silicon (an expensive component in solar panels), which 1/50 to 1/100 less silicon than the industry standard. Conventional wafers are over 200 microns thick and waste more than 60% of the raw material, whereas Rayton’s process produces zero waste. Additionally, Rayton is capable of using Float Zone Silicon; a silicon that the company says is 25% more efficient than the industry standard.

Rayton Solar’s patented technology is to use a particle accelerator (virtually a laser beam) to conduct ion implantation – they blast H+ protons directly into a silicon ingot (raw material), attach the silicon to a substrate, exfoliate directly off the ingot with zero silicon waste, then conduct screen-print wiring and finalize the solar cells with anti reflective coatings. The finished cells then go through conventional module assembly lines to become solar panels for residential, commercial, and utility use.

This technology unlocks Float Zone Silicon for use in the solar industry. Historically this grade of silicon has been uneconomical for use in solar panels, but with the reduction in silicon use, Rayton has made it cost effective. The 60% cost reduction allows U.S.-based manufacturing to be cost competitive with solar panels made abroad.

Here’s the company’s funding pitch:

Rayton Solar is headed by Andrew Yakub – a serial solar industry entrepreneur, trained physicist and particle accelerator expert. Besides Andrew sit two clean tech serial entrepreneurs who are also MBAs. On the engineering side sits the Chair of the UCLA Department of Physics, who is one of the world’s leading experts in particle beams. The team also includes the former Chair of the UCLA Department of Materials Science, who is one of the world’s leading experts in ion implantation. Their CTO is a 20-year veteran of the Stanford Linear Accelerator facility.

Rayton has developed working solar cells utilizing their patented technology. The $1 million in seed financing will get them through the process of becoming UL-certified and allow them to sell their product in the U.S. Rayton has also partnered with a large U.S.-based residential installer to buy their product once production begins.