Thursday, January 16, 2014

On the Horizon—Solar Panels That Are More Efficient

Solar Panels That Are More Efficient
If we want to save this planet for the next generation, we must continue finding cheaper and more efficient sources of energy. Installing solar panels that take advantage of the power of sunlight is one way of creating electricity without stripping the land of vital minerals and resources. As a totally renewable source of energy, it has the potential to supply vast quantities of electricity without damaging the environment. So why are we still using fossil fuels, building hydroelectric structures and installing nuclear power plants? Well, power from those sources is cheaper, that’s why. As much as solar power is vital to our future, it is still too expensive to use on a mass scale.

Bringing Down the Cost
There are many hi-tech start-ups out there racing to find the best (and cheapest) solution to lower the costs of producing solar energy, as well as inventing new ways that the existing technology can be employed. Most of the solar cells are silicon based, but one innovative company is producing special coatings that will make the solar cells more efficient. Other solutions might be to use concentrators or mirrors that will focus more sunlight on a panel. Nanotechnology is one of the newest possibilities, because it can trap and convert a larger amount of energy than the cells that are silicon-based, but trials are still being run on nano flakes, and there is no guarantee that this technology will make its way onto the open market.

Additional Emerging Technologies
There are a myriad of new technologies being developed by hi-tech startups, including more efficient storage methods, such as converting liquids into steam with heat. There are companies working on producing solar cells more cheaply through inkjet printing. Other possibilities being developed would provide cheaper and thinner solar films as an alternative to silicon.
The list of techniques and products in the development stage is endless, but the end result will be solar energy that is inexpensive, clean and plentiful.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Getting Your Share of the Investment Pool

angel investor
Last year, there were some 15,000 start-ups looking for money in London, which was a record number for that city. Most of them found the money to get started and begin making their dreams come true. However, whether they got their money from family members, trustworthy friends or angel investors, at some point the money will be used up and the hi-tech entrepreneur will need to consider moving on to the next step. According to a report published by Deloitte, London’s tech industry is worth £125bn, but many investors prefer to put their money into technology companies based in the Silicon Valley. The market for money is very competitive, making it very difficult to find Series A investment, which can range from £500,000 to £4m. 

Building Connections

There are many established companies that are in need of digital solutions to streamline their particular industries. Those businesses are desperate for new technologies to help them meet today’s demands. By partnering with hi-tech entrepreneurs who are trying to get their products or services off the ground, both parties can benefit. When suitable candidates partner with established businesses, it is a win-win situation. Business owners receive value through supporting and working to perfect an idea or service that will benefit their own specific industry. By becoming partners, a good idea can be developed into an excellent product with a good potential for viability. And what does the entrepreneur get? Besides the knowledge and experience gained from working hand in hand with an established business, the hi-tech start-up can actually gain credibility in the market, which will make it easier to attract investors. It also provides an opportunity for the new product or service to be used and perfected in a real time scenario. Prototypes can be created to prove the proof of concept and its relevance in the marketplace. 

Finding Supportive Partners

There is a limited amount of funding out there, and new companies are springing up everyday that want their cut of the investment pie. Finding a partner is one way of building business experience, making important connections and increasing chances for further investment.