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November - 2013 - issue > CEO Spotlight
Disruptive Innovations in a Source Alternative to Electricity
Santosh Kumar
CEO & CTO-Ultrasolar Technology Inc.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
UltraSolar Technology, Inc., a stealth mode company which develops solar cells that utilize the wasted solar energy. UltraSolar Technology, Inc. was incorporated in 2009 and is based in Santa Clara, California.

The major trend in the solar power industry today is cost reduction. With the industry still facing tough competition from other forms of energy, primarily from non- renewable sources such as coal, gas, nuclear, and the like; the only way solar can survive in the face of this competition from well established competitors is by reducing the prices. Therefore the market is focused on cost reduction and generally rejects anything which does not help reduce the cost. All the innovations taking place are therefore focused towards cost reduction or LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy) reduction.

We are pioneering the move to dramatically reduce the cost by modifying the basic physics of operation of solar in cost effective way. Currently several universities and industries are working on similar ideas.

Methods to fundamentally change the way solar cells operate are to be seen in the next few years. Gradual improvements will occur in all the other components of solar installations ranging from inverters to aluminum frames aimed towards price reduction. These efforts will dramatically reduce the cost of solar with respect to all the other incumbents leading to a massive increase in the adoption of solar as the source of energy.

The only source of energy today where cost reduction is possible through innovations is Solar. Solar power is almost at price parity today with the power from utility companies such as PG&E. As seen in the last few years, utility bills have only gone up. This is because of several components of the pricing of power. For example 70 percent or more of the electricity bill you pay to PG&E is the cost of sending the power to your home, not producing the power. Disruptive innovations such as ours will bring the price of solar power to way below the price of electricity way are used to paying to utility companies such as PG&E. At that stage, there will be no alternative to solar.

Entrepreneur's Challenge

Raising money is a lot more difficult now than it was about 15 years ago. That is why most entrepreneurs like to jump on a bandwagon of the hottest fundable sector. There is very little money available for true but unproven innovations. Also, if too many startup companies are doing the same thing, many of them will have to disappear because the market will be able to support only few. Additionally, all startup companies have their usual problems such as evolving product definition and go to market strategies, teams which are working on such a product for the first time which affects the team chemistry in adverse ways at times and the like. External interferences occasionally make things worse.
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