Today, San Francisco solar startup Fenix International unveiled revolutionary plans for a major advancement in photovoltaic technology: the Luna Power Module, which captures energy from the moon’s lunar rays.
“Years ago, during a full moon, we asked ourselves, ‘Why do we only use solar panels during the day?’ Since then, we’ve been working night and day to develop a panel that could work using lunar radiation,” says Fenix Founder & CEO, Mike Lin. “We believe that drawing power from moonlight via a lunar panel will be a real game changer.”
Since its founding in 2009, Fenix has been growing a large solar customer base in East Africa, a region where 85 of 100 million people live without electricity. Fortunately, this region is ideally situated to draw maximum solar power. Near the equator, the sun shines nearly 12 hours per day and panel alignment is easy. However, solar has a fatal flaw: it does not work at night, when many people recharge their mobile phones, TOS phasers and other devices.
Fenix will launch two versions of its Luna product line in late 2014, the Luna Power Module and a ground-breaking Hybrid Luna/Solar Module which captures the rays of both the sun and moon to provide 24/7 power. “Currently, the Luna’s charging efficiencies are lower than its solar counterparts,” says Senior Mechanical Engineer Paul Jehlen, who led Luna product development. “However, we expect that as our technology matures, the Luna will be 7-10 times more efficient than photovoltaic modules at half the cost.”
The company expects the lunar panel market to build momentum quickly, turning the tide by early next year. While Fenix Luna Modules are poised to disrupt the East African solar market, analysts are already bullish about the technology’s potential to eclipse solar markets in the US, China, and Europe. Fenix’s Co-Founder and COO Brian Warshawsky says the company remains committed to its mission. “Our primary focus will continue to be on the 1.3 billion people who live without electricity in emerging markets, serving them with ReadyPay Solar, a lease-to-own power system that enables customers to purchase clean renewable energy through micropayments on their mobile phones.” says Warshawsky. “However, we will look to grow our clean lunar energy technology and expand to industrialized nations as our bandwidth allows.”
…Happy April Fool’s Day! Apollo-gises if we caused any confusion or got your hopes up for a lunar panel. We wish this moonshot idea were true, because it would be pretty cool…