Solar Product Entrepreneurs Wanted

There’s a new kind of solar technology called “thin film” that’s light and flexible and as powerful as traditional solar panels, but few people are aware of it or how it can be applied to different products.

To raise more awareness for thin-film solar, Hanergy Thin Film Power, a leading solar Contest image2manufacturer, has launched a new solar design competition in cooperation with several international design centers and Oakland’s SfunCube, the only U.S. start-up incubator for solar entrepreneurs. The winning solar design will receive a $160,000 cash prize plus the chance to commercialize the product.

The contest isn’t just about promoting thin-film solar tech. It’s also about giving student designers, industrial engineers, life-hackers, gadget makers, architects—or anyone with a creative solar product idea—the chance to become an entrepreneur and learn how to bring a product to market, from design to proto-type to final product.

Danny Kennedy, the solar entrepreneur who co-founded the SfunCube incubator and the leading global residential solar company Sungevity, sees this contest as an opportunity to not only develop more solar businesses, but also to foster new and creative ways to integrate clean solar energy into people’s daily lives.

Thin-film solar can be bent and shaped, and applied to fabrics, plastic shells, metals, or almost any material. And because it’s thin and lightweight, it’s ideal for portably charging battery-powered gear, accessories, and large and small consumer devices.

Check out this video that shows what the world might look like if more products were powered by solar.

And here’s another video with Danny Kennedy and other solar entrepreneurs talking about the potential for solar thin film ideas.

“Electricity unchained is the next step for solar,” said Kennedy in a recent press release. “All the business models built around steam-engines and baseload power are being disrupted by standard silicon solar modules. Imagine what will happen when we can provide electricity at the point of use with small applications of solar power appropriate to the load. It will put portable power into the hands of the people. The creative designers who enter this competition will have a chance to make history with their powerful new ideas.”

So, if you have a cool idea for a solar gadget, transportation device, outdoor gear, or anything you think should be powered by the sun, get a crash course in becoming a solar entrepreneur and check out the competition website at www.thinfilmsolarawards.com.

More Details

Who: Anyone 18 or over with a cool idea to use thin film solar in people’s daily lives.

What: Hanergy Thin-Film Solar Product Global Innovation Competition, hosted by SfunCube.

Contest website: www.thinfilmsolarawards.com

Categories: Personal products, outdoor, automotive, textile, and more. See contest website.

When: Deadline for initial submissions is May 10th, 2015.

See example proposals: Initial designs can be fairly simple. Sample proposals are online and may help entrants to structure their competition proposals.

Get help: Entrants with little design experience and who need help, or who have questions about their proposal idea should contact Andrew Chang at andrew@sfun.biz.