Why is this a good time to invest?
When it sunk into our bones how big this can be, we realized that we had an opportunity to create a legendary company in a generous and inclusive way. Crowdfunding is distributed power, just like solar, so for this offer we lowered our minimum investment from $50,000 to $5,000 (limited to first 99 investors).
Funds raised to date have supported the early stage development of our core technology, as well as the filing of numerous patents, both in the U.S. and abroad.
The next steps include the formal documenting of our results through a certified lab and the completion of a small production run of units for infield testing. After completing these steps, we will be ready to commence commercialization and licensing of our technology.
In our opinion, our licensing model reduces the risk and creates a faster return for our stakeholders. Rather than spending tens of millions of dollars and years of time to build manufacturing, brand and distribution, we license to strategic partners who can get our products to the world markets through their established infrastructure -- fast.
Is this V3Solar's first funding round?
The V3solar group comprises of two companies. A holding company was formed in Australia to provide a similar service to the one being provided by Wefunder today. Approximately 1.8 million dollars was raised through family, friends and accredited investors to fund the early development of our ground breaking technology to the pre- commercialisation stage we have now achieved. The Australian company, (with all of its investors) is the sole shareholder of our USA Delaware C Corp company. This Delaware company, V3Solar Corporation owns all of our intellectual property and will be licensing it to parties globally. Accredited investors will be invited through this offering to participate in the equity of the USA company.
CPV has been a tough industry for investors with no breakout company this far. What makes V3Solar different?
To handle the heat generated by concentrated sunlight, CPV companies like Amonix are forced to use tripled junction solar cells that cost up to 800X more than one sun mono cells. Because of Dynamic Spin, V3Solar can use one sun mono under high concentrations, which keeps costs low.
Glass for lensing is cheaper than PV. So the more you concentrate the light, the better the economics -- up to a point. If you then have to use specialized PV that costs 800X more, the equation falls apart. Triple junction cells cost about $400/Watt Peak. One sun mono PV costs about $0.50/Wp. Because of Dynamic Spin, we get to use the latter.
How big is the market?
Solar is $100B subset of the $6 trillion dollar energy market. Energy is the largest market in the world. Most solar companies are in a "race to the bottom" on pricing a commodity (PV). We created a better design that uses 97% less PV and produces more power at less cost. We feel that innovation captures market share. Beyond the industrial market, the rural poor spend $400B on some of the dirtiest and most expensive energy sources. V3Solar offers a clean, renewable way out of that poverty trap.
What makes your management team special?
Put simply, the team members each have proven track records in bringing new technologies and business systems successfully to market. Chris LaDue, our CTO, already has over 60 patents to his name, many of them already successfully commercialised. Michael Neistat, our CEO, has over thirty years of successfully bringing technology through to commercialisation. His skills are diversified and proven in the field. Robert Styler, our CMO, has 20 years developing proven sales channels. Jack Barakitis is a multi-talented "jack of all trades" and master of many.
No matter what angle the sun is shining, 50% of the solar cells are always shaded at one time (except at high noon, at the equator). This dramatically increases cost and inversely lowers efficiency.
This would be a serious problem if the system was static. For forty years, the paradigm for solar has been the flat, static panel...and flat, static thinking simply won't work here. The inner PV is rapidly spinning in and out of highly concentrated bands of light. With the CoolSpin and SunCatcher designs, every other PV facet is illuminated under concentrated sunlight. We can time the spin such that the PV hits the next band of light during the decay slope so we receive constant energy from every piece of PV through the entire rotation.
By creating high-intensity flashes of light, we make the PV respond differently than it does in a static environment, just baking in the sun (see Q-switching and the Avalanche Photodiode effect). We only go into specifics under NDA [non-disclosure agreement] with stakeholders and investors. We all know what we know, but few are open-minded enough to know what we don’t know — and that’s the first step of innovation.
Spinning a panel constantly = constantly consuming energy just to spin the panel. That does not seem efficient?
The spin uses less than 10 watts. The initial push to start the spin is higher and all units will be rated for their net output. So if the unit produces 1000 watts, but it uses 10 watts for the spin, it will be rated at 990 watts. The gains of Dynamic Spin far outweigh the minimal loss.
Anything with mechanical motion will break down and require regular maintenance.
The moving parts of Dynamic Spin are less complex than those in an oscillating fan. Solar panels are incredibly durable. That is why we use PV in our design. The inverter for flat panels has to be changed about every 10 years, but the panels can keep producing for 40 years or more. We take that same reliable PV and put it in a dynamic environment. Yes, this creates more issues around maintenance, but if our payback is three years rather than seven years, we feel the market will move our direction. We also design the unit so that the any moving parts are very easy to replace and the rest of the unit can remain on site. The key is how quickly we can create a return on investment. For large-scale commercial farms, we can use the same large-scale AC wind inverters that GE and others have developed for the wind industry. Yes, we have an “inverter” built into the Spin Cell, but it may be more cost effective on large projects to remove that aspect and use inverters developed for the wind industry to connect with the grid.
PV is about 18% efficient, how can V3 be 20X more efficient than that?
We are not 20X more efficient. We increase the amount of light that hits the PV by 20X to 150X, which increases the production of the PV under concentration. It has long been known that concentrating light increases production. The problem has been the associated heat. When we put a 20X concentration on flat, static panels, the temperature quickly reaches 260 degrees F and the PV fails. With the same concentration under Dynamic Spin, the temperature never exceeded 15 degrees F above ambient. This is a breakthrough.
What happens if the unit stops spinning? Won't the PV get fried?
Yes, if the spin stops, the section of PV under concentration will be destroyed. The spinning mechanics are very robust, but we will build in contingencies. There are several potential options to protect the PV. Each is being evaluated for cost, reliability, and environmental impact. One potential is to run an electric charge through the outer lensing that can make it opaque.
Does the unit have a 20-year warranty like solar panels?
V3Solar is in the business of energy production and innovation. You would not want the same mobile phone you could buy a decade ago. The important number is your Levelized Cost of Energy – what is the price per kilowatt hour including all costs over time? At V3Solar, our focus is lowering that number. With that said, all of the components within the units have proven commercial applications of over 30 years. Dynamic Spin uses PV, power electronics, and electromagnets combined in a way that has never been done before. The products are designed for new systemic retrofits that will increase energy production and efficiency. Cutting edge, with no bleeding edge. We think many of our customers will want to upgrade their energy production as we develop more breakthroughs, and we plan to create a trade in program where older models can go to developing markets. Of course customers will always have the option to enjoy the long-life of our reliable products. Some people like to get a new car every three years. Others love to keep driving the classics. We will offer a warranty, and the length of warranty will be determined by how quickly the ROI is achieved through the power produced by Dynamic Spin.
Is it loud like a wind turbine?
Dynamic Spin makes a very low, resonant hum. You can only hear it if you are within a foot or two of the unit and it is surprisingly pleasing to the ear.
Can this go on my roof like flat panels?
We are exploring various aesthetic solutions from ground mounts in the yard to mounting along the edge of the roofline. By avoiding penetrating your roof, we can save on permits and time. Plus, if we are going to change the future, it might as well be beautiful!
How can I buy one now?
We have recently finished our initial prototype to prove our claims. We are now testing and fine tuning. Dynamic Spin is like an engine. To get the most energy, we need the entire unit to be "tuned" properly. There will be a press release when the technology is commercially available. To manage expectations, it won’t be before Q3 2014.
How can you support your claim as “The most efficient energy under the sun”?
Fossil fuels may be less expensive (for now), but they are not efficient. According to Dr. Nocera, in the May 14, 2012 issue of the New Yorker, “Every year, by burning fossil fuels, we release a million years of photosynthesis.” That can’t continue forever. Hydro power is low cost, but you still have to build the power lines from the dam to the point of consumption, same with nuclear (which has other problems). By converting energy more efficiently than other solar technologies at the point of consumption, we defend our trademark.
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