An MIT team whose integrated chip restores lost power to partially shaded solar panels — achieving double the energy capture improvement of similar technologies — won big on Monday night at the seventh annual MIT Clean Energy Prize (CEP) competition.
Equipped with a promising business plan and a snappy catchphrase — “shade happens” — Unified Solar took home both CEP grand prizes: the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clean Energy Prize, worth $100,000, and the NSTAR MIT Clean Energy Prize, worth $125,000.
Solar panels on residential rooftops that are partially shaded by clouds or trees sacrifice as much as 30 percent of their energy potential over a year. Unified Solar’s technology, for the first time, integrates an entire power balance circuit onto a low-cost chip that can be integrated into a solar panel to regain that lost energy.
Read more in the April 29, 2014 MIT News Office article by Rob Mattheson titled "MIT team wins Clean Energy Prize for solving solar’s shade problem - Unified Solar takes home $225,000 for a circuit that augments the output of partially shaded solar cells." Rob Matheson | MIT News Office.