The CEA Validates Solestial’s Breakthrough Radiation-Curing  Technology

Independent lab observes low-temperature recovery of  solar cells from radiation damage 

TEMPE, Ariz., March 28, 2023 — Solestial, Inc. (“Solestial”), the solar  energy company for space, today announced that the French Alternative  Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (“CEA”) has independently  validated the ability of Solestial’s ultrathin silicon solar cells to effectively  anneal radiation damage under sunlight at 90°C. After radiation exposure  equivalent to 10 years in low Earth orbit (“LEO”), followed by annealing at  90oC under 1 sun illumination equivalent, the open circuit voltage of  Solestial’s silicon solar cells dropped by only 4% and maintained 96% of  its initial value. Providing that the operating temperature of the illuminated  solar cells in orbit reach similar temperatures periodically, this  demonstrates the feasibility of self-curing solar cells with substantially  reduced radiation-induced degradation.

The French laboratory’s findings prove that Solestial’s silicon solar cells  suffer dramatically less degradation, and can retain greater end-of-life  efficiency, than other silicon-based solar products for space. During a 10- year mission in LEO, commonly used III-V multijunction solar panels will  lose 10-15% of their beginning of life efficiency due to radiation damage  alone. For terrestrial silicon solar panels, the damage will be even greater  at 35-40%. Neither III-V nor terrestrial silicon have shown independent  laboratory validation of such significant low-temperature annealing.

Solestial’s breakthrough self-curing capability is unmatched in the space  industry.

“Low-temperature curing is a critical capability for silicon-based solar  products in space. It was important to partner with a globally respected  laboratory for independent validation of our unique technology,” said  Stanislau Herasimenka, co-founder and CEO of Solestial. “The CEA is a  venerated organization with a world-class laboratory; we were thrilled to  collaborate with their team. We look forward to further testing with the  CEA over the coming months to validate internal annealing results at  even lower temperatures. We’re excited to show the space industry the  myriad benefits of Solestial’s ultrathin silicon solar cells and blankets.”

Solestial’s silicon solar cells incorporate proprietary defect-engineering  technology to self-cure radiation damage, resulting in minimal loss of  efficiency over an operational lifetime. When coupled with other  advantages of Solestial’s technology, such as readily available raw  materials and the use of automated equipment, the result is more  affordable, longer lasting, solar cells and blankets with virtually limitless  manufacturing capacity.

“Radiation curing technology is an important breakthrough for the space  PV [photovoltaics] industry,” said Romain Cariou, space silicon solar  applications expert at the CEA. “Annealing of radiation damage in silicon  is straightforward at high temperatures, for example, above 200-250°C,  but this is not useful for applications in space as these temperatures are  rarely, if ever, experienced in situ. The differentiation factor here is that  Solestial’s cells can cure radiation damage at normal operating  temperatures for solar panels in space. This outstanding property,  experimentally verified by CEA teams on state of the art irradiation and  characterization platforms, cannot be found in current commercial cell  technologies. I’m excited for the possibilities that this technology will  unlock for the space PV industry.” 

Solestial’s technology has been under development for more than a  decade, beginning its life at Arizona State University where the company  was first conceived as Regher Solar. Solestial’s technological  breakthroughs and superior value proposition are unlocking tremendous  commercial demand. Since the completion of its oversubscribed 10- million-dollar seed round in October 2022, the firm has been focused on  testing and validation of its technology, hiring, and converting hundreds of  millions of dollars of Letters of Intent (“LOIs”) into binding contracts.  Commercial customers range from startups to major defense primes and  builds on a foundation of more than $2.5 million in SBIR contracts with  NASA, NSF, and other government agencies.

About Solestial
Solestial, Inc. is the solar energy company for space. Solestial’s  breakthrough technology is a silicon solar cell engineered for space to  self-cure radiation damage under sunlight at a normal operating  temperature of 80°C. Solestial solar cells are packaged in an ultrathin,  flexible, low-mass solar blanket designed to achieve minimum  degradation for up to 10 years in LEO. Solestial solar blankets can be  produced using automated machines resulting in costs 90% lower than  incumbent technologies. Solestial targets 2025 for the launch of a  manufacturing facility capable of producing 10 MW/year of solar blankets.  From today’s satellite constellations and research projects to tomorrow’s  lunar settlements and services in space, Solestial’s innovative technology  represents a paradigm shift for space solar; an affordable, scalable  solution to power the new space economy. To learn more, visit our website or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the CEA
CEA is in charge with guiding French public decisions and providing the  scientific and technical means that civil society (businesses and local  authorities) needs to better manage major societal changes, such as the  energy transition, digital transformation, future healthcare, defence and global security.

CEA’s Liten institute, located at the Grenoble CEA centre and the INES (Chambéry) site, is a CEA technological research institute specializing in  energy transition technology. Its research activities focus on a number of  key areas: solar power, network management, storage, including  batteries, and hydrogen, geared to energy efficiency and a circular  economy. Its research encompasses diverse applications in the energy  generation and distribution markets, transport and industrial processes,  and for the environment. CEA’s Liten institute is a member of the Carnot  Institute for Future Energy Sources. 

Media Contact
Eileen Korte