Sol-Chip: Never-ending energy

Bringing the ability to eliminate batteries and wires as a power source for small devices.

 

Image Remarks: Sol-Chip:Investing Prospects in Israel
 photo credit: Sol-Chip

The Jerusalem Post has partnered with ExitValley, a digital platform that enables anyone to invest in Israel's start-up ecosystem and share in its success. In this article, we are pleased to introduce Sol-Chip, an Israeli company that has developed a unique “solar panel on a chip,” providing everlasting energy to small IoT devices, for operation without the need for battery replacement.

Sol-Chip’s patented Light Chip is tiny, efficient, and easy to integrate, and it works in both outdoor and indoor environments. When coupled with Sol Chip’s innovative charging and control circuitry, the Light Chip creates a “solar battery” that provides never-ending energy 24/7/365 to small devices.

"We provide digitization solutions," says Teddy Golan, the company's CEO. "We can take any analog process and transfer it to a process that is performed and managed through the cloud. At the heart of this capability are our IoT systems, which are unique in their ability to harvest light energy without the need for direct sunlight.”

Teddy Golan, Sol-Chip CEO (Credit: Sol-Chip) Teddy Golan, Sol-Chip CEO (Credit: Sol-Chip)

The ability to eliminate batteries and wires as a power source for small devices has numerous applications in many markets such as precision agriculture, industrial IoT, smart home, smart cities and asset management, all presenting multi-billion-dollar market opportunities. Sol Chip is already deploying unique commercial precision agriculture solutions based on this technology and piloting similar solutions in several other markets.

"Our ability to manage energy storage through a perpetual battery allows devices to be completely autonomous," Golan notes. "Our devices can connect to a wide range of sensors, and through data network connectivity, we can digitally collect and manage data of all kinds. We can control valves and different relay stations, which allows us to control systems and close the digital loop.

"There are a lot of applications for our product. We have made the most significant advances in the world of agritech," he adds. "We know how to interface with sensors in the agriculture industry and bring digital information from the field. Farmers today work with different interfaces. We collect all this data in one place and can control irrigation, fertilization, lighting and more. Beyond hardware, we also deal with software and communication. Some of our customers also ask us to integrate AI capabilities - meaning that the system will give recommendations based on the data collected, especially in irrigation.”

Sol-Chip is backed by investors and VCs in Israel and around the world. The company has already raised funds from the Trendlines group - the leading incubator in Israel that invests in early-stage agricultural ventures, and from the group of serial investor Vincent Tchenguiz. Other notable investors are Israel Electric Corporation and OSEG.

The need for everlasting energy for small Internet-connected devices extends to other markets beyond precision agriculture. Smart cities, for instance, need smart utility meters. Industrial plants have remote locations and sensors that cannot rely on receiving power from the electrical grid. Location trackers – whether for large containers or small dogs – need portable power. Owners of smart home devices would like to install them without wires or the need to replace batteries from time to time. A typical retail store might have tens of thousands of electronic shelf labels and replacing batteries for them is a never-ending full-time job. The need for small, efficient energy harvesting technology is nearly universal.

Credit: Sol-ChipCredit: Sol-Chip

Another area in which the company has grown recently is energy efficiency. An example of this is a product they are developing for energy optimization in office campuses "The world is looking for ways to dramatically reduce energy consumption," Golan explains. "In Germany, beginning next year, regulations will be in place that will require assets managers to save energy. Our solution will allow to optimize and track consumption in an analog world that is going digital."

"Our ability to manage energy storage through a perpetual battery allows devices to be completely autonomous,"

Teddy Golan, Sol-Chip CEO

Golan talks about other industries in which the company is taking first and important steps. "We have a pilot with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, for a dual-use application. In addition, we are expanding our cooperation with the Japanese postal service with an initiative to digitize all mailboxes for them. They want us to add the ability to monitor mail status in the mailboxes and once our systems are already installed they plan on using them to gather additional information for weather, pollution and even civilian movement, all within the framework of the smart city.”

The company was founded on a chip manufacturing model, but its founders soon realized it could advance in the business chain. The initial product it developed was a perpetual battery, which is charged thanks to the special chip. The battery was then fitted with communication capabilities, which gave rise to the ability to store and analyze data.

"Our foundation is energy independence," Golan summarized, "Our devices are self-sustaining, and they can harvest energy in low-light conditions, even in enclosed spaces. In addition, our devices can connect to existing communication networks or we provide an independent network on our own. We also manage the data and analyze the information for customers."

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