Bright ideas of solar energy innovator win just rewards


DUBLIN-BORN CONRAD Burke, who is the founder of the Silicon Valley solar energy company Innovalight, was named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year at last night’s ceremony.

A Trinity College Dublin physics graduate, Mr Burke founded Innovalight in 2005.

He spent the earlier part of his career working for large multinational organisations in Germany, Japan and the US, where he gained the experience and confidence to start his own venture from scratch.

Accepting his award last night Mr Burke said that he was honoured, shocked and “very, very flattered”. He thanked all of his “great” employees in Silicon Valley.

Innovalight has developed a portfolio of patented technologies and materials that allow crystalline silicon cell manufacturers to produce solar cells with higher conversion efficiencies.

The company has the only known commercial process to retrofit existing cell production lines to boost the performance of solar cells.

And its patented Cougar Platform technology allows cell manufacturers to break through the efficiency ceiling of current cell designs.

Innovalight has hired engineers and chemists from leading solar and materials companies around the world to work towards its objective of lowering the cost of solar energy.

The company now has 55 employees. The team has filed more than 60 patents and presents at leading solar conferences.

In 2006, Mr Burke received the Technology Pioneer Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

His company has been profiled in Time magazine and by CNN in recognition of its having developed one of the most revolutionary semiconductor materials to be seen in the past 50 years.