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5th place: Solar energy gets cheap
5th place: Solar energy gets cheap
Vanja Lichtensteiger, Christian Pfeffer, and Lukas Lichtensteiger
Team name: Enexra

School: Harvard University, Harvard Business School

Team members: Vanja Lichtensteiger, Christian Pfeffer, and Lukas Lichtensteiger

Concept: Enexra's founders have developed a technology that allows for more efficient use of crystalline silicon in solar cells - a breakthrough that could allow solar cells to generate electricity at costs competitive with conventional energy sources.

The founders are both Harvard post-doctoral fellows with extensive experience in physics, materials science and microfabrication. They have created several working prototypes of their technology, which targets a rapidly expanding market: The photovoltaic industry is growing at 30% per year, a rate Enexra expects to continue for the next two decades.

Timeline: Enexra's operational plan is twofold. First, it will set up a production facility for its efficient crystalline silicon, which it plans to sell to other companies. The profits from this first step will allow the company to make its own solar cells incorporating its technology. Enexra plans to enter the market by mid-2009 and to start manufacturing solar cells in 2010. - Konstantin Shishkin

NEXT: 6th place: Better heart monitoring

Last updated May 02 2008: 11:51 AM ET