SunDensity, winner of the $1 million prize in the Luminate NY optics, photonics and imaging (OPI) competition in 2020, opened its state-of-the-art research and development facility after two years of testing and validation. Originating from MIT, the company is the developer of the Photonic Smart Coating (PSCÔ) technology that increases solar power output and can also reduce energy consumption and improve the performance of consumer electronics displays and architectural glass in buildings.
"This is a big step forward for us," said Dr. Nish Sonwalkar, Founder, President and CTO of SunDensity. "Developing our technology here signifies our commitment to providing solar solutions in the U.S., to be competitive with Chinese products that currently dominate the market."
SunDensity's Photonic Smart Coatings for utility, commercial and residential solar panels can considerably improve solar power output and provide more accessible green energy solutions at a lower overall cost. Its nano-optical coating also reduces costs and improves the performance of Low Emissivity ('Low E') window glass to efficiently control unfavorable effects such as 'heat gain' in homes and buildings that demand increased energy for environmental control.
The number of solar power plants in the United States is growing at a rate of 30% per year, but much of the available solar spectrum is wasted by solar cells. SunDensity's Photonic Smart Coating improves the efficiency of opto-electronic devices such as solar cells by shaping the spectrum of photons, transforming available energy into more usable light, targeting the ideal sensitivity for many different types of devices.
"We have built a highly specialized and skilled team of scientists, chemists, engineers and physicists," said Henry Schek, SunDensity CEO. "We are actively recruiting talent nationwide to help us in our mission to become a global leader in solar power solutions."
SunDensity is working to commercialize its coating technology on a large scale to meet the demands of solar glass and module manufacturers. In the last year, it has grown to 15 employees and is working with multiple, global glass and solar panel partners.
Luminate NY Managing Director Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, said, "By opening their facility in the same place where they incubated—in the heart of Rochester's Innovation Zone—SunDensity is helping to revitalize our city and to expand economic development opportunities within our rich OPI and entrepreneur ecosystems."
The company's plan is to work with manufacturing facilities nationally and globally to help combat climate change. The company has raised nearly $20 million from investors to date and has utilized that investment to build out an expert team and a new 5,000 plus square foot R&D headquarters in the renovated Sibley building on East Main Street in Rochester, NY.