Author Topic: Rayton Solar Scam? - 3.1M Raised and climbing! 60% Cheaper? 25% more efficient?  (Read 25678 times)

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Offline matthewpang

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So this popped up on my facebook feed this afternoon http://www.raytonsolar.com  with pretty out of this world claims.

They even have a spiffy ad featuring Bill Nye!


Some digging yielded an unsuccessful crowd funding campaign in 2014/2015:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rayton-solar-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels#/

It really looks like they refined their pitch and are making a second go of it.

They "claim" to be 25% more efficient (questionable) and 60% cheaper (uh huh - can't seem to find a picture of a panel or a cell anywhere). Furthermore even if the cells are 60% cheaper - per the National Renewable Energy Lab a pretty large majority of the overall cost of residential/commercial photovoltaic systems comes from the labor/inverter/structural components/licensing etc.

Their refusal to answer basic questions on their social media pages as well as their tactic of directly targeting individuals via social media for "investments" starting at ~$500 also seems pretty weird.

What do you folks think ?




« Last Edit: June 04, 2017, 02:16:18 pm by matthewpang »
 

Offline ataradov

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I think Bill Nye is cashing out his reputation and retiring.
Alex
 
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Offline Jr460

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Those are very bold claims, that require bold evidence.

Price lists and complete testing info are needed.

I did find where Rayton has signed a deal with a company that supplies proton beam equipment.  My first thought was this has something to with making the cells more efficient.  However, the press release goes on to say they are using this to slice up the silicon into wafers.  They claim the current way with diamond saws results in massive waste of silicon.    Hummm, maybe so, but I don't think chip fabs are going that way to make cheaper chips.

Next I found a set of charts that shows a breakdown of solar cell manufacturing costs across several companies.  In all cases silicon is about 10% of the total cost.   No way saving silicon is going to make the units 60% cheaper to produce.  Also I would think that these proton cutters will use more power than current methods, so that silicon costs go down and power costs go up.

Then when you start having "exclusive" setups for investing in the company.........  sniff, sniff,   I smell BS.

Don't get me wrong, it would be great if just one of the two clams were true, price or efficiency.   It would push numbers to where solar is the way to go for a large amount of people like myself.
 

Offline matthewpang

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I did find where Rayton has signed a deal with a company that supplies proton beam equipment. 

Digging suggests that they have "exclusive solar buying rights" with the company that makes the equipment. I.e. an exclusive license for using it to manufacture solar cells - I smell BS :D


Another strange thing is that they repeatedly say they are using float zone silicon - which seems a little suspect from what little i remember from materials science classes. Anybody in the semiconductor industry around ? 
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 03:17:58 am by matthewpang »
 

Offline mtdoc

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Yes, given that PV panel price/watt has already dropped > 90% in the last 10 years, it's unlikely that a new exclusive (patented?) - IOW  premium cost - PV manufacturing technology is going to change anything unless there are also very large efficiency gains.
 

Offline earl colby pottinger

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Why do they not offer their cells for sales?

If what they say was true they could sell tons of them.  But then I could buy and test them myself or read independent reviews
 

Offline EEVblog

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The claims are:
https://www.startengine.com/startup/rayton-solar

24% cell efficiency vs 19% cell efficiency.
Right there they are not correct, as Panasonic & Sunpower both have over 21%
http://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/
But ok, we'll run with 19% as an average, but were are the actual test results proving the 24%?

Quote
Furthermore even if the cells are 60% cheaper - per the National Renewable Energy Lab a pretty large majority of the overall cost of residential/commercial photovoltaic systems comes from the labor/inverter/structural components/licensing etc.

They are claiming 60% of the "manufacturing process" cost, not 60% of the consumer install cost.

Quote
Their refusal to answer basic questions on their social media pages as well as their tactic of directly targeting individuals via social media for "investments" starting at ~$500 also seems pretty weird.
What do you folks think ?

Nice idea, clever marketing.

I need to read more, but I don't yet know what investors actually get for their $500+  :-//
 

Offline EEVblog

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Those are very bold claims, that require bold evidence.
I did find where Rayton has signed a deal with a company that supplies proton beam equipment.  My first thought was this has something to with making the cells more efficient.  However, the press release goes on to say they are using this to slice up the silicon into wafers.  They claim the current way with diamond saws results in massive waste of silicon.    Hummm, maybe so, but I don't think chip fabs are going that way to make cheaper chips.

I don't know how they are ever going to make production level cells using beam time at a particle accelerator?
Do they have anything physical to show?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Every man and his dog is working on cheaper ways to manufacture silicon ingot and the resulting solar cells. So nothing to see here with Rayton except yet another technique to reduce the cost, which I think is too clever and not practical enough. I mean a particle accelerator for production? Really?

https://phys.org/news/2015-10-low-cost-wafers-solar-cells.html
 

Offline edavid

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I read that link and I couldn't find a reference to a particle accelerator. It seemed to me, such as my understanding of silicon wafers is, that they were intending to grow a very thin crystal wafer using an existing silicon substrate to promote the correct crystal structure and then using a layer of porous silicon between the two layers separate the wafer without material wasted by cutting. The link says "To make the new wafer easily separable from the substrate, researchers will introduce a mechanical breakpoint beforehand in the form of porous silicon."

I'd like to know more. Particularly what the particle accelerator is to be used for.

I think they are saying that instead of growing a monocrystalline layer on top of a porous layer, they start with a monocrystalline wafer and use the particle accelerator to create the porous layer at the desired depth below the surface.  This is probably done by implanting hydrogen.

Here's an example of a patent for this type of lift-off process: https://www.google.com/patents/US6352909

Note that wafer fabs routinely use particle accelerators in production, but they call them "ion implanters".
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 01:26:02 pm by edavid »
 
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Offline Jr460

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A few years old, but this is the link I found with costs to make cells.   Noice the cost of silicon.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-much-does-it-cost-to-manufacture-a-solar-module-in-2014
 

Offline EEVblog

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Just shot a video on this, will go on the 2nd channel
 

Offline EEVblog

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Offline edavid

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This company was spun of from the Fraunhofer institute to do what they are doing:
https://www.nexwafe.com
https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2015/october/low-cost-wafers-for-solar-cells.html

It's another lift-off process, but they are doing it the opposite way... growing the porous layer on the wafer, then growing a crystalline layer on top.
 

Offline mtdoc

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The claims are:
https://www.startengine.com/startup/rayton-solar

24% cell efficiency vs 19% cell efficiency.
Right there they are not correct, as Panasonic & Sunpower both have over 21%
http://news.energysage.com/what-are-the-most-efficient-solar-panels-on-the-market/
But ok, we'll run with 19% as an average, but were are the actual test results proving the 24%?

Even if they can produce 19% efficient PV panels that are cost competitive with the current mass produced (15-16% efficient) panels that would be a game changer - at least for rooftop solar where efficiency can be a big factor.  I'm skeptical.

(The 21% efficient Panasonic and Sunpower panels are NOT cost competitive)
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 02:16:09 pm by mtdoc »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Offline TheEppicJR

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I have downloaded all of the of the weird vlogs incase they are deleted, if the originals do get deleted I will be watching this thread to see if anyone needs them. I watched a few and I cant tell if their supposed to be a parity of something or not, their just weird.
 

Offline cengland0

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A few years old, but this is the link I found with costs to make cells.   Noice the cost of silicon.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-much-does-it-cost-to-manufacture-a-solar-module-in-2014

I came here to say this too.  Silicone is probably the least expensive part of the panel.  Now if they could reduce other costs such as in the aluminum frames, glass, inverters, installation labor, or other more expensive components, I'd say they might have something.  But not the silicon.  Even aluminum is abundant but to turn the aluminum oxide you mine into pure aluminum metal takes a lot of energy -- so much that many of the aluminum plants are built nearby power plants.  Try to reduce that cost and I'd be impressed.

According to the US Geological Survey, Silicone is the 2nd most abundant element in the earth's crust.  Of course to make it 99+% pure, that is an expensive process.

https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/silicon/mcs-2008-simet.pdf
 

Online coppice

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A few years old, but this is the link I found with costs to make cells.   Noice the cost of silicon.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-much-does-it-cost-to-manufacture-a-solar-module-in-2014
That page addresses polycrystalline panel costs. Monocrystalline would certainly have a higher silicon component, and its monocrystalline cells that Rayton is addressing. Silicon itself is almost free, but it takes some seriously costly processing to achieve a large perfect crystal.
 

Offline Marco

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I did find where Rayton has signed a deal with a company that supplies proton beam equipment.  My first thought was this has something to with making the cells more efficient.  However, the press release goes on to say they are using this to slice up the silicon into wafers.

Reminds me of Twin Creeks.
 
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Offline Richard Head

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Silicone is not silicon.
 

Offline Marco

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Now if they could reduce other costs such as in the aluminum frames, glass

Make it flexible and ditch the aluminium and glass completely. In that respect thinning the silicon is an important step. Also Elon is kinda right, it really needs to be an integrated solution with the roofing to really get the full potential cost savings (since you won't be mounting a sturdy panel raised above the roofing).
 

Offline cengland0

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Make it flexible and ditch the aluminium and glass completely. In that respect thinning the silicon is an important step. Also Elon is kinda right, it really needs to be an integrated solution with the roofing to really get the full potential cost savings (since you won't be mounting a sturdy panel raised above the roofing).

Not a good idea to mount solar directly on the roof.  The panels are more efficient when they are cool.  Having a gap between the panel and the roof helps with airflow.  That gap lets you use mount microinverters which is a nice alternative to using an entire home inverter that has problems with multiple arrays facing different directions or when some panels are in the shade throughout the day.  You can also get statistics on each panel individually when using microinverters so you can tell when a single panel is having problems.

The Glass protects the solar cells from being destroyed from minor impacts from leaves, nuts, twigs, bird poop, and meteors.  Remember the video that Dave created regarding a meteor impact on his panel?  It still worked but I doubt it would have if it didn't have the protective glass layer.
 

Offline Marco

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There are almost no limits to how cheap you can make them once you go flexible. A little loss of efficiency is acceptable.
 

Offline okurka

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I'm curious what happened with the $2.8 million they raised in 2015.

https://www.fundable.com/rayton-solar-inc
 


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