German startup wins solar challenge

July 04, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
The SunSniffer sensor for solar panels
A German technology startup is one of the winners of the latest SunRISE TechBridge Challenge to reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) systems. 

SunSniffer of Nuremberg, Germany has developed a low cost, module-integrated sensor for monitoring PV systems in real-time, increasing the energy output and lowering maintenance costs.

The Challenge is a collaboration between Dutch materials company Royal DSM, Fraunhofer TechBridge, and US startup accelerator Greentown Labs. The awards include Greentown Labs Start-up Acceleration program, technical validation services from the Fraunhofer R&D network, and eligibility for investment by DSM Venturing and/or partnership with DSM Advanced Solar.

56 applications were received by the SunRISE TechBridge Challenge II, and alongside SunSniffer the winners include SunDensity of Boston, MA, with a proprietary photonic technology to produce nano-coated solar glass that maximises the conversion of solar radiation into electric power.

Other winners are Leading Edge Crystal Technologies of Cambridge, MA, which is developing a new manufacturing process to make silicon wafers with higher efficiency and lower cost, and NOMADD Desert Solar Solutions of Saudi Arabia with a low cost waterless automated solar panel cleaning mechanism.

All the winners will receive Greentown Launch and DSM Partnership/Investment Eligibility awards, and one (as yet unannounced) will receive the Fraunhofer Validation Study.

The Fraunhofer USA Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE is one of seven centres of Fraunhofer USA, a subsidiary of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe's largest contract R&D organization.

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