An Israeli solar company that employs windows to both block solar radiation and
harness energy from the sun has received a $100,000 grant from General Electric
and partners’ “Ecomagination” program, the corporation announced this
The company, called Pythagoras Solar, is one of five firms to
win an Innovation Award from the program’s “Powering Your Home” challenge, in
which GE invested $63 million this round and also provided sizeable awards to 10
commercial partners in addition to the smaller firms. Currently in its second
year, the challenge has now provided a total of $200 million worth of funds to
22 commercial corporations and 10 startups in total, with an aim of
“accelerating the global development of clean energy technologies,” the
corporation said. A panel of independent judges selected the winners and
included Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson, executives from GE and academics
leaders from the field, according to a statement from the company.
knew that GE recognized that this technology could have a huge impact on the way
buildings are being built,” co-founder and CEO of Pythagoras Solar, Golan Fink,
told The Jerusalem Post
“This is the part of the award that we
are most happy about and feel good about the validation and feedback we have.”
Pythagoras, established by Golan Fink and partner Dr.
Itay Baruchi in
2007, employs a technology called “Building Integrated Photovoltaics,” which
aims to achieve “netzero buildings” in terms of energy consumption.
windows themselves include a combination of optical devices and solar cells,”
Fink explained. “The unique thing about this combination is that the optical
device manipulates sunlight so that instead of getting into the room, the direct
radiation is used for generating clean solar energy. It produces energy and also
shades the room.” While the company currently has five pilots running – three in
the United States and two in Israel – the most longrunning trial has been going
on now for six months at the Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois, according to
“The Sears Tower itself is looking at the project as part of
retrofitting the building,” he said. “Even though Chicago is not the best place
for concentrated solar energy, it still suffers from getting too much
“We are looking for this to be the greenest building in the US,” he
They wanted to evaluate this technology because of its unique
combination of solar power generation and energy efficiency.” Pythagoras is also
in the process of evaluating several potential projects in China, Fink
“There is a lot of construction happening in China, and they are
not on the forefront of energy efficiency,” he said.
“There are some
projects there that are moving more and more toward the green construction
industry.” While the company is currently in the process of developing a type of
window that would be more appropriate for residential locations, Fink said that
the current models – which will hit commercial markets in the US by the end of
this year – are better suited for larger buildings at the moment.
more relevant for buildings with significant amount of glass,” he said, noting,
however, that the building need not be as tall as the Sears Tower.
current product is less applicable for residential windows because you need a
large surface of glass to make this economical.” Fink added that the company
hopes to move to marketing larger volumes of installations by next
In addition to Pythagoras Solar, the other four startup winners
this year were British firm E.quinox for its renewable energy in developing
countries, as well as American companies PlotWatt for its smart meter analysis,
Suntulit for its climate control systems and Xergy for its green refrigeration
systems, according to GE.
GE’s decision to include the Israeli firm among
its winners comes just shortly after the corporation opened a multidisciplinary
research and development center in Israel, where it will host local projects in
medical technologies, clean energy and water – with the hopes of advancing
technology by partnering with Israeli companies and academics, the corporation
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