Dr. Duncan Earl, who founded Sunlight Direct in 2004, co-invented a revolutionary technology for tracking, concentrating and redistributing natural sunlight through fiber optic cables. This free, full-spectrum light is an essential ingredient in the burgeoning renewable energy market, which includes concentrated photovoltaics, hybrid solar lighting and photo bioreactors (used in biofuel production and CO2 sequestration). Despite their market potential, these technologies remain costly and inefficient because, in part, of the cost and ineffectiveness of artificial lighting or to the inability to cost-effectively and reliably deliver concentrated sunlight. Dr. Earl led a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that developed what is now the SolarPoint™ Platform technology, a rooftop two-axis tracking and concentrating solar platform that is protected by multiple patents and trade secrets.
Sunlight Direct’s initial commercial product integrates natural light into commercial artificial lighting systems via fiber optics. SolarPoint™ Lighting has been well received by customers and won a prestigious R&D 100 Award in 2006. The company’s second product, SolarPoint™ Power, is a 1kW concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) system that will generate electricity at less than $2 per watt. With a small footprint, the SolarPoint™ Power system is ideal for discrete building uses, or can be expanded and networked to meet utility-scale demand for distributed renewable power generation.