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My MBA Journey: Discover How an MIT MBA is Democratizing Solar Energy – Across All Surfaces



My MBA Journey: Discover How an MIT MBA is Democratizing Solar Energy – Across All Surfaces
My MBA Journey: Discover How an MIT MBA is Democratizing Solar Energy – Across All Surfaces

Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: MIT Students Develop Ultralight Fabric Solar Panels to Overcome Barriers and Expand Accessibility to Solar Energy

Solar energy has been hailed as a sustainable and renewable source of power, but it still faces two significant barriers to widespread accessibility – affordability and the complex installation process. These obstacles have prevented solar energy from reaching places like Shiv Bhakta’s family home in India. However, Bhakta, an enterprising student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has joined forces with fellow student Richard Swartwout to create a groundbreaking solution – ultralight fabric solar panels.

Their company, Active Surfaces, specializes in developing solar panels that are astonishingly thinner than a human hair and can be conveniently laminated onto various surfaces. This innovative technology bypasses the traditional complexities associated with solar panel installation, making solar energy more accessible than ever before.

The key advantage of Active Surfaces’ ultralight fabric solar panels lies in their weight and flexibility. Unlike their bulkier predecessors, these panels are significantly lighter, allowing for easier installation and reducing costs. This characteristic also makes them the perfect solution for commercial warehouses, which often have weight-bearing constraints.

Bhakta’s personal background and upbringing have played a crucial role in motivating him to pursue ventures that address climate change and aid underserved communities. His family’s difficult access to solar energy in India inspired him to find a solution that could benefit millions facing similar challenges. This dedication and drive have not gone unnoticed, as Active Surfaces has won prestigious accolades such as Harvard’s Annual Climate Symposium pitch competition in 2022 and the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

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To further strengthen his skills and knowledge in the industry, Bhakta has taken on internships to gain experience in sales cycles and pitching for funds to support his company. His success as a person of color from a low-income background starting a climate change venture has become a source of inspiration for others. Bhakta encourages individuals interested in tackling climate change initiatives to take risks and surround themselves with supportive mentors and allies.

Looking towards the future, Active Surfaces plans to hire MBA interns to support their operations and aims to scale up their manufacturing capabilities by 2026. The company’s vision is to democratize solar energy by making it accessible to individuals and communities worldwide, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and greener future.

In conclusion, MIT students Shiv Bhakta and Richard Swartwout have made significant strides in overcoming the barriers faced by solar energy. Through the creation of ultralight fabric solar panels, Active Surfaces has introduced a game-changing technology that not only simplifies the installation process but also reduces costs. This innovation marks a giant leap towards achieving widespread accessibility to solar energy and paves the way for a cleaner and more sustainable future.

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Phyllis J. Broussard is an accomplished writer and educator with a passion for MBA courses. With years of experience in both academia and industry, she has established herself as an expert in the field of business education. Her writing on MBA courses is highly regarded for its depth of insight and practical application.

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