Author Topic: Rayton Solar Scam? - 3.1M Raised and climbing! 60% Cheaper? 25% more efficient?  (Read 25681 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
 

Online 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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Online 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
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Warning signs:

Bill Nye

Bill Nye

"Serial Entrepreneurs" in the SEC filing.

Request for a ridiculously low funding level ($50MM USD) as opposed to the huge expenses that will be necessary.

The very early cashout threshold of $7MM where the initial preferred shareholders sell and get $3MM. This is the biggest warning that the goal is to simply get raise money, not build a commercial technology. I will admit it is common for this type of fundraising.

A bizzare prototype of a finished cell in gelatin with wires bonded to it instead of what one would expect: a plain wafer bonded to a substrate as they propose.


 

Offline LabSpokane

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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

2 years
10 people at about 150k/yr

It ran out quick.
 

Online Richard Crowley

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I guess the Batteroo people didn't offer Bill Nye enough money.  Raytron seems no more technically sound nor commercially viable than Batteroo or Airing or any of the other unending succession of similar schemes.

Even as Solar World files for insolvency and my friends down the street at are refreshing their résumés despite massive government subsidy.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 02:55:51 am by Richard Crowley »
 

Online Richard Crowley

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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.

Do you mean like the https://www.infinitypv.com/ cells?

https://youtu.be/ZE3zf2lGyt8?t=13m33s
 

Offline Marco

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Do you mean like the https://www.infinitypv.com/ cells?

No, I mean using 3M ultra barrier films with ultrathin Silicon or Perovskite and flexible conductors. 3M seems confident their polymer barrier will have decades worth of service life, but I don't know any organic PV materials which can say the same.
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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I'll also add that the direct-to-the-individual-investor pitch is really uncommon.  In fact, The SEC typically restricts such offerings to larger investors in order to protect small, individual investors from risky, catastrophic losses. How this particular venture got around this typical restriction is ... well. ... curious.
 

Offline thm_w

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The fact that the company is operating at a loss, or it has potential competitors isn't exactly a red flag. Its typical of most startups.
Of course, majority of individuals shouldn't be investing in startups as the risk is ridiculously high (1 in 10 succeed or so?). And all of Daves other points are valid.

If they end up with <10 million, its basically guaranteed nothing will happen and a bunch of people will be out of their money (it has indiegogo style flexible funding: "Raised of $500 - $50M goal"). Its sad that Bill is involved in this.

I'll also add that the direct-to-the-individual-investor pitch is really uncommon.  In fact, The SEC typically restricts such offerings to larger investors in order to protect small, individual investors from risky, catastrophic losses. How this particular venture got around this typical restriction is ... well. ... curious.

https://www.theverge.com/2016/5/16/11685832/sec-crowdfunding-rule-update-startups-investors
 

Offline uwezi

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I will not ask, who Bill Nye is... never heard of this guy.  :horse:

But, these people did not do their basic solar cell physics research!  :palm:

Silicon is a bad light absorber because of its indirect bandgap. In contrast to direct bandgap materials like GaAs or Cu(In,Ga)Se2 a 3µm thin silicon solar cell will only absorb about 1/3 of the incoming sun light. With this little absorption a 20+ % efficient solar cell is out of discussion.

http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/design/material-thickness
http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/design/solar-cell-parameters

At least thicknesses around 30 µm would be needed, which in turn are most likely not achievable with the described exfoliation technique, which otherwise is known under the name SmartCut in the semiconductor community.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0927024894900086
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_cut

They just copied their idea from a book (nothing wrong with that, but they should have read the whole paragraph):
https://books.google.se/books?id=TpZo_wEeJe0C&lpg=PA110&ots=_9uMHQgDAC&dq=silicon%20smartcut%20solar%20cell&hl=sv&pg=PA110#v=onepage&q=silicon%20smartcut%20solar%20cell&f=false

and one last link to a report highlighting the problem:
http://www.nanophotonicseurope.org/index.php/component/docman/doc_download/8-glunz-photonics-for-high-efficiency-crystalline-silicon-solar-cells
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 10:15:35 am by uwezi »
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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The fact that the company is operating at a loss, or it has potential competitors isn't exactly a red flag. Its typical of most startups.
Of course, majority of individuals shouldn't be investing in startups as the risk is ridiculously high (1 in 10 succeed or so?). And all of Daves other points are valid.

If they end up with <10 million, its basically guaranteed nothing will happen and a bunch of people will be out of their money (it has indiegogo style flexible funding: "Raised of $500 - $50M goal"). Its sad that Bill is involved in this.

I'll also add that the direct-to-the-individual-investor pitch is really uncommon.  In fact, The SEC typically restricts such offerings to larger investors in order to protect small, individual investors from risky, catastrophic losses. How this particular venture got around this typical restriction is ... well. ... curious.

https://www.theverge.com/2016/5/16/11685832/sec-crowdfunding-rule-update-startups-investors

If Bill Nye doesn't know what he's pitching, he deserves his reputation. His punishment should be to invest all the money he has received from the Planetary Society into this venture. 

That SEC change good and terrible all at once.  Thanks for posting that.  :-+ I felt it was unfair for small investors to be completely restricted from becoming preferred shareholders through early investment.  What's unclear to me is if any of the $2000 investors will receive preferred status (very doubtful) and early cashout privileges like the big kids, or if they will merely be fleeced as suckers (most likely scenario). 
 

Offline EEVblog

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« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 10:57:55 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline JohnG

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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.

Having paid $11k to replace an asphalt shingle roof with another asphalt shingle roof with an estimated "25 year" life, but which will be considerably degraded in 25 years, a tile roof that generated a lot of electricity would be worth 2-3x that much to me. Note that a metal or tile roof or would have cost me $18k-$25k. Not to mention that there is a good chance that it will still be generating considerable power in 25 years, and if it is still functioning as a roof, that's icing on the cake.

John
 

Offline mdszy

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A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

That article definitely rips them apart! I like it!

To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.
 

Offline cengland0

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Having paid $11k to replace an asphalt shingle roof with another asphalt shingle roof with an estimated "25 year" life, but which will be considerably degraded in 25 years, a tile roof that generated a lot of electricity would be worth 2-3x that much to me. Note that a metal or tile roof or would have cost me $18k-$25k. Not to mention that there is a good chance that it will still be generating considerable power in 25 years, and if it is still functioning as a roof, that's icing on the cake.
Not sure what you're trying to say here.   You cannot replace a roof with paper thin solar cells so you'll still need to have some kind of roof before you install solar on it.  Musk's vision of having the two combined are independent of the issue regarding the video Dave posted.
 

Offline EEVblog

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.
 
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Offline mdszy

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.
Gotcha, definitely makes sense.

Sent from my RS988 using Tapatalk

 

Offline LabSpokane

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A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

That's a great article. I see a fair bit of this type of self-dealing and share price manipulation. More very concerning warning signs...

Let's hope this doesn't go past $3MM in fleeced investors.
 

Offline uwezi

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A little loss of efficiency is acceptable.

Is it? You have to consider the system cost, the BOS! A little loss might be acceptable, but here (a) the company claims an incredible increase in efficiency and (b) they aim for 3 µm thin cells...
 

Offline Marco

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Is it? You have to consider the system cost, the BOS! A little loss might be acceptable, but here (a) the company claims an incredible increase in efficiency and (b) they aim for 3 µm thin cells...

It was a tangential discussion. This company is not making integrated PV/roofing solutions with flexible cells made with thin silicon and 3M barrier film.
 

Offline mtdoc

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.

I disagree with mdszy. I think that was an excellent video Dave.  Not over the top but just the right level of technical and practical critique base on the information at hand! :-+

A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

Yes, excellent article.  Unsurprising given today's financial system ethos.  That's what happens when there is no rule of law or ethics at the top levels of finance - it trickles down even to the low level finance environment.

I don't really blame Bill Nye for pitching this.  He's a science guy but also a public entertainer. He has to eat. The general technical idea is clearly feasible.  Bill is likely uninterested and unknowledgeable about the finance/business side of things.  However, if and when the sleazy underpinnings of this pitch come to light, I hope he learns a lesson about being more careful about who he lends his face to.


 

Offline LabSpokane

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.

I disagree with mdszy. I think that was an excellent video Dave.  Not over the top but just the right level of technical and practical critique base on the information at hand! :-+

A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

Yes, excellent article.  Unsurprising given today's financial system ethos.  That's what happens when there is no rule of law or ethics at the top levels of finance - it trickles down even to the low level finance environment.

I don't really blame Bill Nye for pitching this.  He's a science guy but also a public entertainer. He has to eat. The general technical idea is clearly feasible.  Bill is likely uninterested and unknowledgeable about the finance/business side of things.  However, if and when the sleazy underpinnings of this pitch come to light, I hope he learns a lesson about being more careful about who he lends his face to.

I have to disagree on Bill Nye's culpability. He is endorsing as a technical professional, "science guy" (really a mechanical engineer) and therefore implies a substantial level of technical vetting.

I think too many cloud their vision of Nye's behavior with childhood nostalgia and give him a wholly undeserved free pass.
 

Offline mdszy

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I think too many cloud their vision of Nye's behavior with childhood nostalgia and give him a wholly undeserved free pass.

Case in point, the terrible trainwreck that is his Netflix show...
 

Offline Marco

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I forgive him, naivety/stupidity is not a sin. The problem is the news media portraying him as something he's not, he's an actor ... they are supposed to be journalists.
 

Offline mtdoc

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I forgive him, naivety/stupidity is not a sin. The problem is the news media portraying him as something he's not, he's an actor ... they are supposed to be journalists.

Exactly. 
 

Offline Jr460

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He, Bill, started out on a show called "Almost Live" in Seattle.  He did the Science Guy act among others, like Speed Walker.   A superhero that fought crime while observing the rules of the the International Race Walking Commission.
 

 

Offline LabSpokane

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I forgive him, naivety/stupidity is not a sin. The problem is the news media portraying him as something he's not, he's an actor ... they are supposed to be journalists.

Mmmkay. I prefer my mechanical engineers to be intelligent, educated and street smart. It's even better when they don't claim false credentials.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.
I disagree with mdszy. I think that was an excellent video Dave.  Not over the top but just the right level of technical and practical critique base on the information at hand! :-+

Thanks. I could always edit it bit more, and add some more stuff and whack it on the main channel as numbered video to get a larger audience?
 
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Offline edy

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Great video Dave.

I checked out the RaytonSolar channel on YouTube and it seems to be cobbled together with videos of Christy St. John:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/christy-st-john-97215740

Here is her web site:

http://christystjohn.com/

I believe she is just working for the marketing / media people and getting paid just like Bill Nye was paid to do commercials for RaytonSolar. She appears in a few of their solar-related videos, but there are many other videos of her on their channel which seem completely unrelated. Somebody must have screwed up the uploads or trolled the channel with her videos to try to bump up the views.



Funny enough, if you sort the videos on the channel by popularity, out of the 19 or so videos featuring Christy talking about "who knows what" (which make up the vast majority of the 27 videos on the channel)... her videos actually rank the lowest on the view count. So if there was any strategy to this clusterf*ck of a channel I'm not sure it worked.

Anyways, the whole thing just gives me a bad feeling... best to stay away from this company and let them do their thing without your money involved. Christy's involvement I can understand, she is an actress and wish her all the best in advancing her career, but I thought better of Bill Nye than being a paid shill. Interestingly enough, Christy lists having a degree in Mechanical Engineering on her LinkedIn page, and Bill Nye was also a Mechanical Engineer for Boeing. I wonder if there is some connection there or if they know each other or somebody at Rayton for that matter.

Also, Christy is a web-developer and the RaytonSolar site appears to be a Wix page so likely her company "Brand ID" is involved in maintaining their media and web presence and she also does their YouTube channel. I'm sure it is all linked. Here it is:

Her profile on Brand-ID: https://thebrandid.com/meet-the-team/christy-st-john/



I like this:

Offline, Christy works as an actress and partners with UCode, a LA-based company that teaches kids how to code. One of her personal missions in life is to encourage more young girls to go into STEM fields. :-+ :-+ :-+


« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 02:41:16 pm by edy »
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Offline rs20

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It's almost as if the conversation went like this:

Marketing: We have this MP4 promotional Billy nye film, and we want to embed it in our webpage.
Christy: No problem, I'll upload it to YouTube and you can then embed it in your website.
Marketing: Cool, thanks, done! Oh wait, it says "Christy St John" in the title bar of the embedded video.
Christy: Oh sorry, didn't think of that. I'll rename my channel.

I mean, to be fair, it worked as far as embedding the videos goes. Maybe they don't consider the experience of people clicking through to the channel to be a relevant experience.
 

Offline EEVblog

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I mean, to be fair, it worked as far as embedding the videos goes. Maybe they don't consider the experience of people clicking through to the channel to be a relevant experience.

In which case,  :-DD
You pay Bill Nye oodles of money to promote your product, you produce a slick-as investor marketing campaign, and you don't think people are going to want to look at your Youtube channel for more videos on the tech. Double  :-DD
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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I'll believe the "60% cheaper" part when I can actually buy it for less than 40c per watt. (Probably even less than that by then.)
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Online coppice

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I'll believe the "60% cheaper" part when I can actually buy it for less than 40c per watt. (Probably even less than that by then.)
40 cents per watt would be about the same as now. A 250W panel is under $100.
 
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Offline mtdoc

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I recently bought a pallet (26 panels) of 285 watt panels for 25 cents a watt.
 
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Offline NiHaoMike

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I'll believe the "60% cheaper" part when I can actually buy it for less than 40c per watt. (Probably even less than that by then.)
40 cents per watt would be about the same as now. A 250W panel is under $100.

That sounds about right for a bulk order e.g. a whole set to put on a roof. For single panels, $1/W is about typical.
So then the bulk price would have to be less than 16c per watt. Which is probably pretty hard to achieve.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Offline EEVblog

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They raised $2.3M in 2015, and what do they have to show for it?
Check out the "updates"

https://www.fundable.com/rayton-solar-inc
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 05:28:52 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline NANDBlog

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They raised $2.3M in 2015, and what do they have to show for it?
Videos with Bill Nye?
 
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Offline edy

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There is a lot of "math play" which at first glance can be confusing. For example, they say 25% more efficient than existing panels. If existing panels are thought to be 20% efficiency on average, you might assume they mean 45% efficiency.

Then when you read that they say make 24% efficient modules, which are 25%+ more efficiency than other panels it sounds like they are saying other panels have -1% efficiency?!?

So what they really mean is if other panels are say 20% efficient, they are 25% MORE of 20... or 0.25 x 20 which is 5 more... so they bump up the efficiency from 20% to 25%, which is 5% "more". See, for someone just looking at a glance without knowing, it would seem like they are going from 20% to 45%, when in fact they are going from 20% to 25%.

Still, it is an improvement, and if it can be made cheaper and saves Silicon then great. But what are they spending the money on, and if they made one of their cells already then where is it, where is the data on the performance of the cell and the actual thickness, how did they do it, and how to they plan to scale it? I'd be more impressed to see an engineer go over that then Bill Nye or a bunch of marketing fluff stuff.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 06:33:53 am by edy »
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Online Richard Crowley

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Still, it is an improvement, and if it can be made cheaper and saves Silicon then great. But what are they spending the money on, and if they made one of their cells already then where is it, where is the data on the performance of the cell and the actual thickness, how did they do it, and how to they plan to scale it? I'd be more impressed to see an engineer go over that then Bill Nye or a bunch of marketing fluff stuff.
What does "saves Silicon" mean? Where I work, we still use round wafers, even though the microprocessor dice are rectangular.  When the wafers are cut apart into dice, there is a small amount of Silicon "lost" from the saw kerf, and of course, the wasted space between the last good dice and the round edge of the wafer.  But those scraps are re-cycled.  The dust from the saw is likely sucked out and collected like sawdust in a woodworking shop.

OTOH, down the street at Solar World, they actually grow their own ingots from melting chunks of Silicon.  But, because round PV cells would waste so much space, they "square-off" the whole ingot much like a sawmill preparing a big log from the forest.  Then, when they slice the ingot, they end up with square wafers (vs. the natural round shape of the boule).  They reputedly take the cut-off pieces and recycle them by throwing them back into the crucible to be re-melted.

The only "saving" Raytron appear to accomplish is the saw-kerf from slicing the boule into wafers.  Are they saying they can reliably cleave off a layer of Silicon crystal in a production environment in some kind of economically feasible scheme?  Given that Silicon raw material is essentially free (only the cost of extraction, cleaning, transportation, etc.) what exactly are we "saving" here?  If they need some sort of giant accelerator to cleave layers of Silicon, is that really economically viable?  Can they really cleave a 4 or 6 or 8 inch layer of silicon without breaking it?  That stuff is crazy brittle.
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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Theoretical silicon savings are in zero kerf loss and more wafers per ingot due to less thick wafers.

Silicon's cost is in making the ingots, not the raw material value. We have ingot plant(s) in the Pacific NW specifically because ingots are energy-intensive and we have the lowest power rates on the planet.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 07:39:42 am by LabSpokane »
 

Online Richard Crowley

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Theoretical silicon savings are in zero kerf loss and more wafers per ingot due to less thick wafers.

Silicon's cost is in making the ingots, not the raw material value. We have ingot plant(s) in the Pacific NW specifically because ingots are energy-intensive and we have the lowest power rates on the planet.
But what is the cost of growing crystalline boules vs. operating a big accelerator to cleave the silicon?  An accelerator big enough to do that probably costs orders of magnitude more than the Czochralski crucibles.  Especially considering the cost of the capital equipment, does it save enough power to have a positive cost/benefit ratio?  How much power for an accelerator when operated in a relatively constant cycle of commercial production?
 

Offline EEVblog

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They raised $2.3M in 2015, and what do they have to show for it?
Videos with Bill Nye?

And the lawyers to draft the disclosure docs for the new equity crowd funder
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Theoretical silicon savings are in zero kerf loss and more wafers per ingot due to less thick wafers.

Silicon's cost is in making the ingots, not the raw material value. We have ingot plant(s) in the Pacific NW specifically because ingots are energy-intensive and we have the lowest power rates on the planet.
But what is the cost of growing crystalline boules vs. operating a big accelerator to cleave the silicon?  An accelerator big enough to do that probably costs orders of magnitude more than the Czochralski crucibles.  Especially considering the cost of the capital equipment, does it save enough power to have a positive cost/benefit ratio?  How much power for an accelerator when operated in a relatively constant cycle of commercial production?

Call these guys:  http://phoenixnuclearlabs.com/admin/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/PNL-News-Release-04252017.pdf

With no scientific papers to back any of this up (that I can find), it's hard to know. "Particle accelerator" could mean damned near anything from a cathode ray tube-like setup to the supercollider at CERN.
 

Offline matthewpang

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It appears like they have a good thing going here 

Late 2014 IGG : $5,323
Late 2015 Fundable.Com : $ 2,830,000
Mid  2017 StartEngine.com:  $3,336,200.88 (and rising!)

Step 1) Make spiffy video and post on crowdfunding site
Step 2) Not necessary
Step 3) !!!Profit!!! and return to Step 1
 


Offline matthewpang

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So on their Fundable.com post they seem to have included their cost per watt as $0.227 .. hmm i wonder what I can find on alibaba

Rayton Fundable Post
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 09:37:42 am by matthewpang »
 

Offline EEVblog

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So on their Fundable.com post they seem to have included their cost per watt as $0.227 .. hmm i wonder what I can find on alibaba


 :-DD
 
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Offline matthewpang

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So on their Fundable.com post they seem to have included their cost per watt as $0.227 .. hmm i wonder what I can find on alibaba
:-DD

But more seriously here are the actual spot prices of silicon cells per watt as of yesterday :


Sources :
http://www.trendforce.com/price/pv
http://pvinsights.com
http://pv.energytrend.com/pricequotes.html
 

Offline matthewpang

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There is a lot of "math play" which at first glance can be confusing. For example, they say 25% more efficient than existing panels. If existing panels are thought to be 20% efficiency on average, you might assume they mean 45% efficiency.

Then when you read that they say make 24% efficient modules, which are 25%+ more efficiency than other panels it sounds like they are saying other panels have -1% efficiency?!?

So what they really mean is if other panels are say 20% efficient, they are 25% MORE of 20... or 0.25 x 20 which is 5 more... so they bump up the efficiency from 20% to 25%, which is 5% "more". See, for someone just looking at a glance without knowing, it would seem like they are going from 20% to 45%, when in fact they are going from 20% to 25%.

Still, it is an improvement, and if it can be made cheaper and saves Silicon then great. But what are they spending the money on, and if they made one of their cells already then where is it, where is the data on the performance of the cell and the actual thickness, how did they do it, and how to they plan to scale it? I'd be more impressed to see an engineer go over that then Bill Nye or a bunch of marketing fluff stuff.

There is a conventionally understood meaning to "62% Cheaper And 25% More Efficient " that doesn't warrant the criticism "math play". I seriously doubt anyone thought they had 45% efficient (in absolute terms) solar cells.

On the other hand if you were talking about sunscreen products going from factor 30 to factor 50 then most people wouldn't realise the reduction in UV penetration was just  something like 3 to 4%.

In any case there has been a consistent and incremental series of efficiency improvements and cost of manufacture saving making solar technology more affordable over decades. Why is another one so outrageous that it begets the sort of ignorant tribalism on display here?

Where is the evidence that there is a scam afoot here? So far all I see is opinions and possibly misinformed opinions. Where are the facts?

Here are some facts:
Efficiency

1) Lets give them the best chance of success and assume they are using mono-crystalline silicon cells. Per the NREL the maximum efficiency for mono-crystalline solar cells achievable under *IDEAL* lab conditions has been about 25% .

Please keep in mind that these are conditions where a bunch of researchers with pretty much unlimited time and resources made *one cell* .

2) The theoretical upper limit of a silicon solar cell is calculated to be in the neighborhood of 29.4 percent. This is given to us by pesky things like the laws of physics (see paper).

3) Rayton Solar claim that their cells are 3 microns thick and here is where they claim their cells have 24% efficiency

4) As uwezi nicely pointed out with references:
Quote
Silicon is a bad light absorber because of its indirect bandgap. In contrast to direct bandgap materials like GaAs or Cu(In,Ga)Se2 a 3µm thin silicon solar cell will only absorb about 1/3 of the incoming sun light. With this little absorption a 20+ % efficient solar cell is out of discussion.

http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/design/material-thickness
http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/design/solar-cell-parameters

At least thicknesses around 30 µm would be needed, which in turn are most likely not achievable with the described exfoliation technique, which otherwise is known under the name SmartCut in the semiconductor community.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0927024894900086
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_cut

They just copied their idea from a book (nothing wrong with that, but they should have read the whole paragraph):
https://books.google.se/books?id=TpZo_wEeJe0C&lpg=PA110&ots=_9uMHQgDAC&dq=silicon%20smartcut%20solar%20cell&hl=sv&pg=PA110#v=onepage&q=silicon%20smartcut%20solar%20cell&f=false

and one last link to a report highlighting the problem:
http://www.nanophotonicseurope.org/index.php/component/docman/doc_download/8-glunz-photonics-for-high-efficiency-crystalline-silicon-solar-cells

5)Using the maximum theoretical efficiency of the ("best case" thickness) 110micron cell given in (2) and the reduction in light absorption given in (4) and in T. Tiedje, Yablonovich, E., Cody, G. D., and Brooks, B. G., “Limiting Efficiency of Silicon Solar Cells” it is easy to mathematically show that the claims of a 24% efficient mono-crystalline 3 micron thick solar cell is effectively impossible. And *EVEN* If it was possible (which its not) - there is no way in hell they are able to commercially produce such a thing . *ESPECIALLY* considering where the upper limits of research solar cells (given in (1)) are.

Thus

6)We can see that their claims of a 24% cell efficiency seem *extremely dubious*. Performing the above calculations - the final efficiency they are able to produce is likely to be at or below the 15%-19% range *AT BEST* (but probably significantly less).

Knowing that, lets look at their other claim , "60% cost savings"

Cost

As mentioned earlier they claim a $0.227 price per watt and a 62% cost savings

Sources for the info below:
a) http://www.trendforce.com/price/pv
b) http://pvinsights.com
c) http://pv.energytrend.com/pricequotes.html

1) You can buy equivalently (from our calculations above) efficient solar cells for around $0.205-$0.230 per watt. RIGHT NOW.

2) You can buy more efficient (simply because they are thicker see calculations above) mono crystalline solar cells for around $0.250 per watt.

Thus: they are either 10% MORE expensive than equivalent efficiency cells or 10% cheaper (at best!!) than more efficient cells.

Conclusion :
1) 24% Efficiency claim - nope.
2) 62% Cost savings claim - nope.

Q.E.D

Bonus Round

I'd like to add that the discussion thus far (both on here and as presented in their marketing material) has focused on the bare cells . Solar cell encapsulation is *critical* to the ability of ANY cell to perform and survive . See this presentation encapsulation from the NREL.

The fact that the cells that Rayton shown below are not properly encapsulated at all should raise *significant* concern among investors in the company.
 
 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 11:07:12 am by matthewpang »
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Wow, absolutely debunked by the laws of physics  :-+

http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/design/material-thickness
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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https://www.soitec.com/en/products/smart-cut

This is the company with the "Smart Cut" process. 

A little more detail on ion implantation:

http://www.axcelis.com/sites/default/files/docs/Ion_Implantation_in_Silicon_Technology.pdf

This is a very old process, since it's basically as old as semiconductor production. If it was applicable to low-cost solar cells, it surely has been tried by now, and would be the industry standard if it was cost-effective. 

And the efficiency curve vs. cell thickness web page is pure gold.  :-+
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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Is there anything we should do, besides rant about it on a isolated forum :blah: to actually stop these thieves? :box: :horse:

Trust me when I tell you that as annoying as this and other schemes like it are, the dollar amount here barely even twitches the needle on the quack-o-meter.
 

Offline matthewpang

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Here is the patent in full in case anybody wants to read it


Also because experimental evidence is as important as theory lets consider: Green, M. A., Emery, K., Hishikawa, Y., Warta, W., Dunlop, E. D., Levi, D. H., and Ho-Baillie, A. W. Y. (2017) Solar cell efficiency tables (version 49). Prog. Photovolt: Res. Appl., 25: 3–13. doi: 10.1002/pip.2855.

Per the above:

1) The world record as for a "thin" Si cell (at 35 micron its still over 10x thicker than Rayton's claimed cell) is 21.2%±0.4%

Source:
Moslehi MM, Kapur P, Kramer J, Rana V, Seutter S, Deshpande A, Stalcup T, Kommera S, Ashjaee J, Calcaterra A, Grupp D, Dutton D, Brown R. World-record 20.6% efficiency 156?mm?×?156?mm full-square solar cells using low-cost kerfless ultrathin epitaxial silicon & porous silicon lift-off technology for industry-leading high-performance smart PV modules. PV Asia Pacific Conference (APVIA/PVAP), 24 October 2012.

2)  The world record for a Si cell in the neighborhood of Rayton's claimed thickness is 10.5%±0.3% for a ~2micron thick cell

Source :
Keevers MJ, Young TL, Schubert U, Green MA. 10% efficient CSG minimodules. 22nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Milan, September 2007.

If Rayton can truly produce a 24% efficient 3 micron thick cell - why are they not flooding the entire internet with their test data?

« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 02:54:12 pm by matthewpang »
 
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Offline uwezi

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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.

Do you mean like the https://www.infinitypv.com/ cells?

https://youtu.be/ZE3zf2lGyt8?t=13m33s


Looking at the prices in their shop this does not look like a cheap technology... But on the other hand 4% efficiency cannot be considered a little loss of efficiency...
 

Offline Marco

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I mean't more something like Highflex Solar and as previously mentioned 3M barrier films.

For now boutique items, but once all the patents runs out and the trade secrets leak out I believe this will be the future for cost reduction.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 12:57:09 am by Marco »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Got a reply from Pheonix Nuclear Labs:
Quote
Thank you for reaching out, happy to help!
1) Yes, we ran a test/proof of concept phase with one of our earlier generation accelerators.
2) Yes, we provided the implanted wafers to Rayton.
3) Rayton is under contract to purchase a machine and has made a down payment. The funds for the machine are coming from the Start Engine campaign.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

My first question would be how much money do they need to raise in order to buy the machine.
And once they have the machine, what else is involved in actually producing workable even pilot production solar panels (hint, it's a lot extra work)
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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Got a reply from Pheonix Nuclear Labs:
Quote
Thank you for reaching out, happy to help!
1) Yes, we ran a test/proof of concept phase with one of our earlier generation accelerators.
2) Yes, we provided the implanted wafers to Rayton.
3) Rayton is under contract to purchase a machine and has made a down payment. The funds for the machine are coming from the Start Engine campaign.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

My first question would be how much money do they need to raise in order to buy the machine.
And once they have the machine, what else is involved in actually producing workable even pilot production solar panels (hint, it's a lot extra work)

A first, major warning sign with this is that Rayton contracted with Phoenix, who appears competent to provide particle accelerator/generation equipment, but does not specialize in wafer cutting.  This likely means that the company that owns the "Smart Cut" process told Rayton to get lost, meaning that "Smart Cut, Co." feels either Rayton itself or its idea is not viable. 

The next warning sign is that there are no photos of the implanted wafter and its 3 micron progeny anywhere on Rayton's site. It's hard to believe that the jellyfish demo is the real deal. 
 

Offline uwezi

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It's hard to believe that the jellyfish demo is the real deal. 

Well actually, the laterally cracked piece of stuff which the jellyfish swallowed just before death could most possibly be a thin piece of silicon. Possibly even silicon which came from an exfoliation process. It looks as if it was so-called <100>-silicon, which means that one of the three right-angled stands vertical towards the surface - this because the cracks in the thin film appear to be in right angles themselves.

And while the jellyfish-sample shows the typical current-collecting finger pattern on the front there seems no way to be able to electrically contact this sample for measurements.
 

Offline Mukrakiish

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Just recently, I've seen many DIY youtubers that do some really neat stuff usually are now being 'sponsored' by Rayton Solar. These guys who usually have great credibility, immediately follow up with this "Rayton is so great" spiel after their video and fill the description with Raytons praise. I get needing money in this world but I start to wonder if anyone ever researches for 15 minutes before tagging their name to someone's company.  |O
 
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Offline matthewpang

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Links please!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Oh dear, Rayton Solar just sponsored none other than Minute Physics to do a video on their tech  :palm:
I think that's the trigger for me to look at a more practical and researched response video...

 

Offline hermit

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They better get their start up costs under control before the market squashes them completely.

http://fortune.com/2016/06/13/solar-to-get-crazy-cheap/

"Part of the cheap solar power will be unleashed because the cost of installing solar panels at big solar farms and on rooftops will drop 60% to an estimated average of around four cents per kilowatt hour by 2040, the report said. That's cheaper than coal and natural gas power in many regions."
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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They better get their start up costs under control before the market squashes them completely.

http://fortune.com/2016/06/13/solar-to-get-crazy-cheap/

"Part of the cheap solar power will be unleashed because the cost of installing solar panels at big solar farms and on rooftops will drop 60% to an estimated average of around four cents per kilowatt hour by 2040, the report said. That's cheaper than coal and natural gas power in many regions."

"UK offshore wind to become cheaper than gas generation"
https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/wind/uk-offshore-wind-to-become-cheaper-than-20150727  :bullshit:

"Storage of Solar Energy to become Cheaper and Easier"
http://solarpower.com/blog/2016/07/19/storage-of-solar-energy-to-become-cheaper-and-easier/  :bullshit:

"Only renewables - not nuclear - could be too cheap to meter "
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/may/22/energy-nuclear-renewables  :bullshit:

"By 2010, electricity from new wind power projects will be cheaper than electricity from new conventional power plants, according to the DOE."
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/increase-renewable-energy/wind-power-agriculture#.WcY19rMo9R0  :bullshit:

"By 2018, Germans and Danes to have the 24/7 free unmetered electricity they were promised."
http://guardian.co.uk/Germans-and-Danes-to-receive-free-domestic-electricity  :clap:

OK, 404 there.

At least these guys' pet snakes don't have any friction problems.
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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But...snakes require friction to slither and move. These guys are paralyzing snakes with their :bullshit:...get PETA!

Rayton Solar, garunteed to make floppy snakes since 2017... ;)
*BZZZZZZAAAAAP*
Voltamort strikes again!
Explodingus - someone who frequently causes accidental explosions
 

Offline Lloyd3000

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There is a new video about this from "today i found out"...
You can see the "enigneers" and they say they aim to produce solar cells for 22.7ct/w



I thougt i mention it, beacause nobody else posted it here..

 
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