Q&A with Susan Stone, CEO at Ubiquitous Energy, Inc.

Media 7 | March 18, 2021

Susan Stone, CEO at Ubiquitous Energy, Inc. has been a longtime board member and investor in the company. Prior to joining Ubiquitous, she was the founder and CEO of Sierra Wasatch Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, and managed early-stage investing for Riverhorse Investments, Inc. Susan has also worked at JPMorgan in New York and Houlihan Lokey in Los Angeles as an investment banker focused on mergers & acquisitions. Stone holds an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University.

It’s such a good time to be a part of the renewable energy industry. New technologies are coming to market every day and we work in an industry that is trying together to solve an enormous challenge.



MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us a little about yourself and what led you to your position as the CEO at Ubiquitous Energy, Inc.?
SUSAN STONE:
My background is in finance, first as an investment banker and then as a venture capital investor. I have a degree in Economics from Yale University and an MBA in Finance from Georgetown University. My training as an investment banker taught me to be creative, curious, and analytically rigorous.

I invested in Ubiquitous Energy in 2014 when the company was still at a very early stage and joined the board of directors at that time. In Ubiquitous Energy’s transparent solar technology, I saw the opportunity to deploy solar power generation across surfaces that would otherwise be untapped.

As a director, I partnered with Ubiquitous Energy’s founder, Miles Barr, then CEO, to help guide the company on its path toward commercialization. In 2019, we determined that the company’s technology and products were ready to commercialize and I was invited to expand my role, becoming the company’s CEO. My history with Ubiquitous Energy, including the time I spent working with Miles and the rest of the team, made me a natural fit.

My passion for renewable energy and fighting climate change is very personal. I live in the mountains near Lake Tahoe, CA, with my husband, Ben, and our two dogs, Kaya and Ahsoka. I love to spend time outdoors no matter the season and feel the impact of climate change very intimately every day.

M7: What do you think is essential to stay competitive in a market that is going through constant digitalization?
SS:
To stay competitive in our market, we need to be laser-focused on our go-to-market execution while continuing to push our technology R&D forward into new horizons. Our first products are in architectural glass, where innovation happens at a careful pace. Our UE Power™ residential windows and commercial glass facade products have to not only produce electricity using our transparent solar coating, but also perform as best-in-class glass units in all other respects: long product lifetimes, uncompromised aesthetics, solar heat rejection, and insulating benefits meeting local and building code requirements. This execution focus is critical to getting our products manufactured and deployed in the market at scale.

At the same time, we are constantly working to innovate and expand the frontiers for our patented technology. We do that by pushing limits in R&D and making advancements in product integration for other applications. Our transparent solar coatings are nearly invisible, and applications in transportation, consumer electronics, and agriculture are on the horizon.


As new renewable energy sources come online, like our power-producing windows and facades, we have an opportunity to diversify our energy sources and the way we think about them.



M7: Could you please throw some light on the role of renewable energy in energy management and conservation?
SS:
As new renewable energy sources come online, like our power-producing windows and facades, we have an opportunity to diversify our energy sources and the way we think about them. We enable solar power generation on vertical surfaces of a building, harvesting sunlight for electricity generation on-site from a surface that was passive until today. Combining conventional rooftop solar panels with transparent solar glass on vertical surfaces allows for a significant portion of a building’s energy needs to be generated on-site. This shift from 100% utility-based electricity to a mix of utility plus distributed renewable energy generation reduces weight on a region’s utility grid, increases resiliency, and reduces storage and transmission losses.

M7: What actions are you taking to improve cost control through the use of solar energy in today’s increasingly competitive environment at Ubiquitous Energy?
SS:
We understand that customers don’t want to compromise on cost when deploying renewable energy technologies and have designed our transparent solar products with that in mind. Our coatings are engineered to fit into standard glass manufacturing coating processes and product constructions. What that means for the cost is that we’re able to leverage existing industry assets and work with the existing industry supply chain to keep costs low.

In most contexts, the customer would be purchasing a window or glass façade already and therefore is focused on the incremental cost vs incremental benefit. Because our product construction is the same as the typical insulating glass unit construction, the incremental cost of purchasing a UE PowerTM window is small relative to the cost of a typical window unit itself. What’s more, in most cases our electricity generation pays back the investment in incremental cost in a just few years.


Our vision for a greener world is one in which any surface exposed to light can generate its own renewable energy, allowing us to truly think locally about clean electricity.



M7: What do you believe are the top three product marketing challenges in the post COVID-19 era?
SS: Cutting through the noise:
With so many communication platforms, media outlets, and demands on our audience’s attention, we believe it’s critical to have a clear and consistent message.

Building trust: We all want customers to trust our brand and products. With first products in building materials, a part of a building’s infrastructure, trust is critical. One of the ways we tackle this is through our commitment to working with industry leaders throughout the supply and distribution chains.

Bringing physical products to life, virtually: We’ve learned the value of using virtual tools to demonstrate our products and technology to partners and customers without waiting to see each other in person.

M7: What is your vision for a greener world? How do you plan to achieve it?
SS:
Our vision for a greener world is one in which any surface exposed to light can generate its own renewable energy, allowing us to truly think locally about clean electricity. We plan to achieve this vision first with our architectural glass products and then with consumer electronics devices, transportation, and even agricultural applications. Because we harvest only non-visible light in generating electricity, we can enable many devices to power themselves while maintaining their aesthetics. This concept of ubiquitous power generation, bringing electricity to surfaces that have been passive, opens up so many new possibilities.

M7: What is your advice for young women considering a career in the energy industry?
SS:
It’s such a good time to be a part of the renewable energy industry. New technologies are coming to market every day and we work in an industry that is trying together to solve an enormous challenge. It’s also a time when a diversity of perspectives and ideas is very valuable and collaboration amongst players is critical.

I’m very proud of our team including the women who are senior leaders at our company. There’s no “right” path or training that leads to a career in renewable energy and there are roles to suit just about every background. My advice is to young women is to be curious, figure out what you enjoy and what you’re good at, and hone that skill set. Identify companies with missions and leaders that you respect and make contact patiently and persistently.

ABOUT UBIQUITOUS ENERGY, INC.

Ubiquitous Energy is the world leader in transparent photovoltaics. Its award-winning UE Power™ technology is the world’s only truly transparent solar product. UE Power™ harvests solar energy and serves as an invisible, onboard source of electricity for a variety of end use products. The thin coating can be applied to the surface of window glass to provide electricity generation and energy efficiency while remaining visibly indistinguishable from the fully transparent standard windows on the market today. Originally spun out of MIT, Ubiquitous Energy is now producing its highly transparent, efficient solar cells and windows in its production facility in Silicon Valley.

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Fluke Announces SMFT-1000, Expanding Its Solar Toolkit Offerings

Fluke | September 23, 2022

Fluke, a leading provider of safe, rugged, and reliable industrial tools and integrated software, Introduced the Solar Multifunction Tester 1000 (SMFT-1000), the latest addition to their expanding line of solar tools. The SMFT-1000 offers up-to-date hardware measurement capabilities with Fluke TruTest® Solar Software integration, simplifying data collection and reporting with a single tool.The SMFT-1000 features: Industry-standard measuring – IEC compliant Category 1 and 2 Test Regime measurement capabilities include protective earth resistance (Rpe), voltage on open circuit (Voc), short-circuit current (Isc), polarity test, insulating resistance, and 1kV I-V curve tracing capabilities User-friendly interface – The intuitive interface provides immediate access to the tool dashboard and on-screen automated data analysis Integrated analysis software – Fluke TruTest® Solar Software compiles data measured by the SMFT-1000 into IEC formatted reports, enabling technicians to create project, site, and client categories to quickly access data and complete tasks on time with minimal training. “Through the handheld capabilities of the SMFT-1000, PV operations will be able to optimize panel performance with one, comprehensive tool,Equipped with seamless hardware to software integration, this latest addition to our solar product portfolio will ensure that technicians can manage their systems efficiently, accurately, and safely.” -Allison Wyatt, Fluke global product marketing manager. The SMFT-1000’s complete package streamlines PV installation, commissioning, and maintenance, allowing PV professionals to complete required tests while the Fluke TruTest® Solar Software compiles data into the industry standard format, cutting down installation time by up to 20% and documentation time by up to 50%. The increased 1kV I-V Curve tracing capability allows users to service larger PV systems, centralizing results across tools. The individual client, project, and site data filing feature helps operation and maintenance professionals recover measurements from past projects and across multiple clients, enabling improved optimization of existing operations. The SMFT-1000 is the latest addition to the Fluke portfolio of test tools designed for the solar energy industry. Fluke tools operate reliably in the extreme environments — dusty, wet, cold, and hot — that solar professionals work in, and are tested to survive drops that can occur in field work. Fluke tools are designed to keep workers safe in potentially dangerous electrical environments, meeting or exceeding all recommended safety standards. Attendees of RE+, taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, are invited to visit the Fluke Solar Showcase from September 20-22 to get a firsthand look at the SMFT-1000, as well as other key tools that make up the Fluke solar product portfolio. Visitors can test industry-leading hardware and software live with the guidance of on-site experts, exhibiting how Fluke solar tools keep projects running smoothly while ensuring technician safety and preparedness for any task. More information about the Fluke SMFT-1000 is available at solar.fluke.com. About Fluke As the world leader in test and measurement equipment, software, and service, Fluke is committed to advancing sustainability at a global level. Growth in renewable energy industries requires precision measurement, quality control, and reporting capabilities for installation, maintenance, and service. Every day, Fluke customers stake their reputations on Fluke tools—it’s why they depend on Fluke’s reliability, accuracy, and commitment to help them extend their skillsets and professionalism.

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