SunShot invests $2.2m in three solar start-ups


The CelLink Corporation start-up company, based in Belmont, is one of three California small businesses to benefit from U.S. Energy Department grants in the latest round of the department’s SunShot Incubator program.

CelLink has secured $704,000 of support to develop a circuit it claims can reduce the cost of producing high-efficiency solar panels by 10% through savings on material costs.

The award is part of a $2.2 million handout from the Incubator in round eight of the program with Berkley-based SolarNexus Inc securing almost $497,000 to develop the first set of apps available to enable disparate types of software used by solar contractors to communicate, reducing labor and customer acquisition costs for solar installers.

San Francisco-based Grenability has been awarded $1 million to develop a comparison report that will enable customers to find the best solar payment plan by comparing predicted with actual annual savings and producing a monthly savings statement. The company is also working on a ‘verified by Genability’ certification to help solar installers with bid preparation costs.

The SunShot campaign, which aims to reduce the cost of solar to $0.06/W, claims it has already reduced the cost of utility scale PV in the U.S. to $0.11/W, a figure below the average $0.12/W cost of electricity in the country, according to Energy Information Administration figures.

The Energy Department, which announced the latest cash awards on Monday, says the Incubator program has leveraged $1.8 billion in private sector funding for more than 75 start-ups and small businesses since 2007, with $18 of private money generated for every dollar of public money spent.