Insolight has been founded by three EPFL students: Laurent Coulot (CEO & Co-Founder), Mathieu Ackermann (CTO & Co-Founder) and Florian Gerlich (COO & Co-Founder).
The start-up developed a flat optical panel that directs sunrays on smaller and highly efficient solar cells, which are normally used in satellites. The possibility to exploit these space technologies and the ability to bring them down to earth has played a significant role in accelerating solar transition.
Solar panels prices have drastically decreased over the recent years, but it is not enough to produce electricity at a competitive cost. Indeed, for residential installations, the solar panels represent in 2015 only less than 20% of the total installation costs (average in the US).
The solar panel efficiency is the key driver for a high return on investment. While traditional silicon solar cells have typically a low efficiency (17-20%), some commercially available technologies exist, with much higher throughput (up to 45%). However, the price for those cells is prohibitive and they cannot be used to cover the full sunlit area.
One solution is to concentrate sunlight on a smaller solar cell. All the sunlight can be concentrated in one single spot, which allows to save on material costs and makes efficient solar cells affordable.