MIT awards $100K for thin solar panels to Shiv Bhakta


The proud Indian American student outlines a winning vision for a technology that could be transported in a roll just like a yoga mat

Our Bureau

Cambridge, MA

An Indian American student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the proud winner of this year’s MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, with an award-winning idea for a yoga mat-like thin-film solar technology proposed by the company co-founded by him. This revolutionary technology will leverage materials science and manufacturing innovations from MIT labs to produce ultra-thin, lightweight, and durable solar panels.

The fundamental ease with which this thin solar film can be transported in a roll even to the top of a building and rolled out for installation on the roof in a span of minutes is the principle thought behind this innovative thinking. This will help slash installation costs and drastically expand the places where rooftop solar technology can be installed without much hassle as per MIT.

Bhakta is enthusiastic about the idea of commercializing an ultrathin film, flexible solar technology, and said, “In a nutshell, we can create flexible solar panels that are as thin as paper, just as efficient as traditional panels, and at unprecedented cost floors, all while being applied to any surface. Same area, same power. That’s our motto,” Bhakta said.

“The prospect of transforming any surface into an energy source, thereby expanding solar accessibility globally, holds the promise of significantly reducing CO2 emissions at a gigaton scale,” said Bhakta.

This path-breaking technology is a result of the vision laid out by the MIT spinout Active Surfaces, co-founded by Shiv Bhakta, a graduate student in MIT’s Leaders for Global Operations dual-degree program within the MIT Sloan School of Management and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with Richard Swartwout.

He was unequivocally proud about being an MIT alumnus and stressed that after winning $100K, he has got a lot of inbound contact from the MIT community, congratulating, thinking to partner, and willing to invest in his idea.

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