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My MBA Journey: Meet the MIT MBA Revolutionizing Solar Energy Accessibility on Any Surface



Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Active Surfaces Revolutionizes Solar Energy Accessibility with Ultralight Fabric Panels

In a bid to address the barriers inhibiting the accessibility of solar energy, entrepreneurs Shiv Bhakta and Richard Swartwout have founded Active Surfaces. This innovative startup aims to make solar energy more accessible and revolutionize the installation process through their ultralight fabric solar panels.

Traditionally, the affordability and cumbersome installation process have been major obstacles hindering the widespread adoption of solar energy. While the cost of solar modules has decreased in recent years, additional expenses related to labor and structural requirements often spike the overall installation costs. Moreover, for those who do not own the buildings they reside in, permanent installations can be particularly challenging.

Active Surfaces aims to remove these barriers by introducing ultralight fabric solar panels that can be easily laminated onto various surfaces. These panels, which are thinner than a human hair, possess the remarkable ability to convert any surface into a power source. Their printed technology not only makes them significantly lighter than traditional solar panels, but also provides the flexibility necessary for easier installation.

With a focus on commercial warehouses, which often face structural constraints, Active Surfaces has identified their main target market. By offering a solution that is both cost-effective and easy to install, commercial property owners can now embrace the benefits of solar energy without worrying about the robustness of their buildings.

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Active Surfaces has already made significant strides in gaining recognition for their groundbreaking solution. The startup became the winner of Harvard’s Annual Climate Symposium pitch and also secured victory at the prestigious MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. This recognition not only highlights the potential of their technology, but also the recognition within the climate space for their contributions.

Shiv Bhakta, one of the co-founders of Active Surfaces, emphasized his passion for addressing climate change as the driving force behind the venture. Bhakta advises aspiring entrepreneurs within the climate space to immerse themselves in challenges and maximize limited resources in order to make a significant impact.

To strengthen their position and foster growth, Active Surfaces has enlisted the support of mentors specializing in different verticals within the climate space. This valuable guidance is expected to hasten the team’s plans for scaling up manufacturing by 2026. Additionally, the company has welcomed MBA interns to help with business development, further highlighting their commitment to expanding the accessibility of solar energy.

By overcoming the barriers of affordability and installation complexity, Active Surfaces is spearheading the democratization of solar energy. Through their revolutionary ultralight fabric panels, this startup is creating a pathway towards a more sustainable future while offering greater accessibility to clean and renewable energy sources.

Dina J. Miller is an accomplished writer and editor with a passion for business and education. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has established herself as a leading voice in the MBA community. Her work can be found in a variety of MBA magazines and college publications, where she provides insightful commentary on current trends and issues in the field. Dina's expertise in business and education stems from her extensive academic background. She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from a top-tier business school, where she excelled in her studies and developed a deep understanding of the complexities of the business world. Her academic achievements have been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including induction into several prestigious academic societies.

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