Founded in 2013, Rayton Solar is a California-based solar cell and engineered wafer manufacturer. Our team is made up of particle physicists, engineers, professors, and cleantech entrepreneurs united to make the world a cleaner, better place. Each member is dedicated to Rayton Solar’s mission and the promise these revolutionary solar panels hold for the future of the renewable energy industry.
Rayton Solar aims to develop the world’s most cost-effective source of energy. By bringing together essential particle accelerator technology and solar energy manufacturing, Rayton can utilize semiconductor materials, such as gallium arsenide (GaAs), that is much more efficient and advantageous than silicon, even capable of charging with indoor lighting. This will finally allow us to bring solar power to new applications, including cell phones, EVs, and smart home devices, thereby taking them completely off the grid.
Our patented process for solar cell manufacturing is cost-effective to the point that we believe subsidies will no longer be needed for solar energy to be the cheapest source of energy.
Particle Physics meets solar cell manufacturing
Our partnership with Phoenix Nuclear Labs (PNL) as our exclusive supplier of high-current proton accelerators enables us to use ion beam technology that can produce thin slices of gallium arsenide (or a similar class of semiconductors) with zero waste. This is accomplished by a solar cell fabrication process that is estimated to shave 60% off the per-watt prices of this crucial component of solar systems with 25% greater efficiency over typical processes that use silicon. Rayton Solar is capable of making up to 100 times as many solar panels with the same amount of raw material that our competitors use to make just one panel.
CEO and Founder
Named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” list in 2016, Andrew Yakub is a two-time clean technology entrepreneur with his previous solar startup currently valued at $15 million. Yakub’s experience spans from UCLA’s Particle Beam Physics Lab to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and he has managed over 6MW of commercial solar projects.
Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Liu has over 10 years of R&D experience in the solar industry. Prior to Rayton Solar he was the Director of Product Engineering at Arzon Solar (a concentrator photovoltaic technology company) where he led the team to break the world record of solar module efficiency two times. He also has extensive experience in prototyping and manufacturing ramp-up. He obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia.
Jeff McKay, Ph.D., is responsible for the development, testing, and integration of Rayton Solar’s unique thin film photovoltaic technology. Jeff is a graduate of the UCLA Materials Science and Engineering doctorate program and has robust knowledge in the fields of semiconductor processing, wafer bonding, and characterization of advanced materials. Jeff is also an experienced teacher and has earned UCLA departmental awards in the field of teaching and received a nomination for university-wide honors.
Ninel Vartanian is the design and mechanical engineer at Rayton Solar responsible for testing, analysis, and development of the company’s engineering projects. She received both her Master of Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Physics from UCLA. With diverse experience in accelerator physics, biomedical research, optics research, and mechanical design, Ninel facilitates the development of Rayton’s implanter and solar cell technology.
VP of Business Development
Zoheb Davar develops Rayton’s business strategy and manages the company’s partnerships and operations. With a background in private equity investments in environmentally sustainable companies, Zoheb leads fundraising efforts alongside Andrew Yakub. Additionally, Zoheb is a Clean Energy Leadership Institute Fellow and the founder of Cleantech Rising, a 501c3 nonprofit serving as a nexus for cleantech information and jobs.
Ji Kim facilitates the management of Ratyon’s community outreach, partnerships, operations, and strategy. Ji received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at UCSD with plant biochemistry research experience at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Ji is the co-founder of International Health Collective, a 501c3 nonprofit that provides healthcare access for rural communities in Tijuana, Mexico.
Dr. Joshua McNeur
Accelerator and Design Engineer
Dr. Joshua McNeur is the Accelerator and Design Engineer who leads the operation and characterization of Rayton Solar’s unique high current ion source. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA, with his research focused on accelerator and charged beam physics. He has over 10 years of experience in designing, characterizing and operating various forms of particle accelerators.
Directors and Advisors
DR. MARK GOORSKY
Dr. Mark Goorsky is a UCLA professor, former UCLA Materials Science Chair, and Rayton Solar’s resident expert in ion implantation, layer transfer, wafer bonding and material integration. Dr. Goorsky received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT and continued his postdoctoral fellowship at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. Dr. Goorsky’s expertise in materials science and wafer bonding is incredibly crucial to the development of Rayton Solar’s ion-cutting process.
DR. JAMES ROSENZWEIG
Dr. James Rosenzweig is a UCLA professor, former UCLA Physics and Astronomy Department Chair, and a world-renowned researcher in particle beams with over 500 scientific publications. He has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society and was awarded the International Free-electron Laser Prize. His expertise in particle beam physics is extremely valuable to the development of the ion-cutting process and high-current proton implanter.
Jeffrey Scheinrock is a distinguished serial entrepreneur lending his talents to Rayton Solar in its investment stage. Before Rayton, Jeffrey was the President and CFO of Originate – Engineering, Strategy, and Fundraising Consultancy, the Vice Chairman of Finance for Packard Bell, as well as the CEO and Founder of Scheinrock Advisory Group.
Michael is the Executive Vice President and third-generation owner of Wilbur Curtis Co., Inc., a 75-year-old foodservice equipment manufacturing company. He is also the Founder, President and owner of World-Wide Advantage, a global sourcing company, and the executive advisory board member for Prime Advantage, a Group Purchasing Organization focused on improving cost considerations for manufacturers. He also is a strategic advisor with North American Foodservice Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) and Food Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA).
Joshua Rossman is a Senior Executive with deep expertise in customer loyalty, analytics and insights with large, Fortune 1000 companies as well as early to mid-stage start-ups. He possesses a strong track record of delivering data-driven business results across large, complex organizations that increase revenue, improve the customer experience, and better align organizational needs. He is a proven and effective leader who is adept at consensus building, influencing, and leading large cross-functional teams through customer-centric culture change.
Carl Nettleton serves on the national and California advisory councils for Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a national, nonpartisan group of business owners, investors and others who advocate for policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. He heads Nettleton Strategies, a firm specializing in forming complex community coalitions and handling high profile issues involving government, media, business, and neighborhoods. The firm provides critical insight and strategic problem solving for both old and new issues. Carl also founded OpenOceans Global, an NGO linking people to the world’s oceans. His subject matter expertise includes oceans, all things water, energy, climate, and U.S./Mexico border issues.