EEVblog #1025 - Minute Physics + Bill Nye Promoting Rayton Solar

hi one of my favorite YouTube channels

is minutephysics run by Henry Reich he

does these awesome like very short not 1

minute but very short physics tutorial

explanation videos are typically

animated like this and they're

absolutely fantastic one of the few

channels that I watch every single video

from the subscription feed from so I'm a

huge fan but I got an email alert last

night and from the thumbnail of the

video and the title I knew exactly what

this one was about and I feel compelled

to respond and there's just a couple of

things here which I think really need

addressing and the public need to be

made aware of that I don't think Henry

actually are covered in his video here

now what it is is he's basically done a

sponsored video so he's accepted money

to produce this video from a company

called irate on solar they menu they've

got this new process technology for

manufacturing solar cells and they've

got a an equity crowdfunding campaign

it's not Kickstarter or IndieGoGo or

anything like that it's actually equity

crowdfunding which is a different thing

and they've already raised 7 million

dollars of a 50 million dollar goal and

they've basically paid him sponsored him

to do this physics a very cool physics

explanation video of how their

technology works which is great the

video in itself is great and the

technology is very cool about how you

can use a basically a particle in excel

ion particle accelerator to produce

really ultra-thin solar cells so it

really fits in with his channel of cool

physics and science explanations no

worries whatsoever and minutephysics

have actually been doing that quite a

few sponsored videos recently I haven't

had a problem with them I am a full-time

content youtube producer as well have

been for over six years and I understand

the need to actually you know to make a

living from this thing either through

sponsorship or advertising or

merchandise or brand deals or whatever

it is to stay afloat I'm a huge

supporter of content producers and I'm


supporter of minutephysics I've had no

problems with he's sponsored videos

recently but this one I have a bit of a

question with so rather than just

promoting a product or a brand or a some

educational thing or whatever which I

have no problems with this is actually

essentially promoting investment in an

equity crowdfunding campaign and one

which i think is actually very very

risky as I'll go into and sure enough at

the end of the video I Henry rightly has

a disclaimer and we'll just quickly run

through that the company that's trying

to use the particle accelerator

technology I talked about in this video

to make solar cells on a commercial

scale this company is called rate on

solar this is a challenging and

expensive endeavor and they're looking

for investors so they sponsored this

video to get the word out start engine

comm slash startup slash rate on solar

I'm not gonna make any endorsement I

mean I'm neither an investment expert

nor a solar industry expert but I do

believe strongly that we need both

political and technological solutions to

secure our planets energy future so I'm

happy to help

Reitan reach a broader audience to help

give them a chance for this clever idea

to succeed and I'm making a small

investment myself

hopefully they'll end up being one of

the many many pieces that come together

to provide a civilized long term future

for Humanity on earth and that's it and

great I'm excellent thank you for the

disclaimer and I'm all for that I am

definitely not anti-technology anti

science and here anti innovation any of

that sort of stuff and I as I've talked

about in my previous video on this I've

actually like I thought I think this is

cool tech and I think that they're you

know really doing some nice stuff but

Henry said that is not endorsing this

but unfortunately just the act of taking

the sponsored video making this video

and saying that he's an investor himself

it's effectively an implied endorsement

by doing this video I'm sorry that's

just you know it essentially is and by

the way they've got and when he shot

this video is only 5.3 million dollars

that they have raised and now they're up


to 7.2 million so I can only presume

that is a result of Henry's videos

people who have rushed in and invested

almost two million dollars on the back

of this unless they've got marketing are

somewhere else so while I'm all for

promoting cool tech research investment

all that sort of stuff

you've got to remember this is not a

university doing this or something like

that this is a commercial entity with

patents trying to raise 50 million

dollars to actually produce these solar

cells so it is a commercial endorsement

effectively what he's doing there even

though he says he's not endorsing it

just by doing the video I think he

effectively is unfortunately now this

isn't the first time that the company

has actually used a big name to actually

help fund and promote equity

crowdfunding campain here they actually

got Bill Nye the Science Guy to actually

do some promotional videos for them this

was like actually nine months ago it

came on my radar a couple of months ago

and I actually shot a second Channel

video it was on eevblog - it's a 17

minutes long which I'll actually link at

the end of this video hence why this

videos so long and it goes through my

initial reaction to the Bill Nye

promotion of this so they've actually

got very clever marketing to get a

reputable guy like Bill Nye to actually

promote them and now they got Henry from


who are potentially like they've got two

sides of the audience they've got Bill

Nye who might appeal to you less techy

type people and you've got the followers

of minutephysics who are you know clued

up people interested in physics and

other cool tech um so they're really

they're marketing hats off to the

marketing from rate on solar they really

know what they're doing so I'll pin that

17 minute video at the end of this but

here's the TL deal take away a summary

for this now rate on solar makes some

very specific claims so we'll look at

that very briefly and then look at the

risk involved so one of their first


when you are wafer saw a regular silicon

ingot to produce regular solar cells

they you actually have a lot of loss

which is called kerf loss and that is

true it's you actually waste about 50%

of the silicon just saw in it you have

like I say a hundred and fifty microns

of silicon then 150 micron width saw and

then it just gets destroyed into dust so

there is a lot of waste there so they

are very correct that that is a thing

but thing that you have not been told is

that this curve loss or the cost of the

actual silicon are used in solar cells

is only about you can see the dark bar

down there that is the actual silicon

cost involved in producing the solar

cell module itself and which is about 15

to 20 percent of the cost so they have

actually made a specific claim here that

they are 60% cheaper I presume this is

going to be modules so that just does

not tally up how can you have a 60%

reduction in cost of a module which they

seem to be employing when the silicon

cost which is the only problem that

they're actually solving here is only 15

to 20% of the manufacturing cost of a

solar panel it does not add up

and the next claim is about the

efficiency they claim are their solar

panels have the potential potential to

achieve 24% efficiency versus 90% of

typical efficiency of current production

solar cells and this is roughly true I

will explain further on in the video but

some of the better panels on the market

now are approached in that 24 percent

figure like 22 percent things like that

so they're getting all the time well

they actually claim 25 percent are more

efficient overall than regular solar

panels with an actual efficiency of 24

percent in the panel so your regular

commercial solar panels are pretty much

catching up on the efficiency there so

I'll kind of you know like I'll still

give it to them oh say okay they might

be 10 20 percent more efficient than

current production panels no worries so


though they have a pattern granted on

this technology and they claim to have

exclusive use and all sorts of stuff

what they don't tell you is this is not

new technology and there are many other

competitors including our publicly

funded research which I cover further on

in my video we're doing a similar sort

of thing trying to solve the same

problem that 50% kerf loss in the

silicon the raw silicon manufacture

stage so the marketing sounds are really

good on this and they might be the only

players in the market but they're not

not by a longshot and there's many other

different process technologies that can

achieve the same sort of result without

the high cost on particle accelerator

that they're planning to use here just

be aware of that now the next thing is

that engineers like me are really easy

to convince just show us the data that's

it one thing you won't find on the rate

on so lot website is anything any data

whatsoever I cover that manufacture

little small little prototype further in

the video but there's absolutely no data

it is almost exclusively marketing with

all your regular infographics and

everything else and when there's no data

you've got to be really wary of stuff

like this so there's actually a third

claim here a hundred times less silicon

than the next competitor yeah fine great

but that's built into the 60% less

expensive to manufacture claim which i

think is not valid so I don't understand

that at all and the rest of it is

talking about market you know potential

and all the usual infographic type stuff

that goes along to any investment

campaign like this but one thing you

won't find on here is data hmm I don't

know if anyone can find it please tell

me down below now the last thing is the

risk in this just a general startup

technology like this runs it you know

like sub 10% or even a few percent

success rate so right off the bat when

you invest in equity

in a start-up it's already inherently

risky but let's actually look at the

Security and Exchange Commission's

disclosure of the rate on solar thing

this is effectively the fine print of

what you're investing here and if we

actually go down it is very very

explicit in the risks here and they are

huge have a listen first up they've been

running at a loss but hey that's not

unusual for a start-up company like this

so yeah no worries

now I'll post a link down below and you

can read this for yourself I won't bore

you with the details but what this is

basically saying is that the auditor of

the company's accounts which you have to

have when you equity crowdfunding is

that they have a going concern opinion

on its financial statement saying that

they are basically reliant upon getting

this investment otherwise they're at

risk of simply going bankrupt and out of

business and this here is an absolute

huge red flag I'll read this if the

company cannot raise sufficient funds it

will not succeed or will require

significant additional capital infusions

rate on salaries offer in common stock

in the amount of up to 50 million

dollars in this offering but may sell

much less currently seven million after

seven million is raised presumably

they've already done that but looks

about the following three million will

go to selling security holders even if

the maximum around mount is raised so

even if they raise their fifty million

dollars the company is likely to need

additional funds in the future in order

to grow and if it cannot raise those

funds for whatever reason including

reasons outside the company's control of

course such as another significant

downturn blah blah it may not survive

this is the opinion of the auditor for

this thing even if they get their fifty

million dollars if the company does not

sell all of its common stock it is

offering it will have to find other

sources of funding in order to develop

its business so if they don't get the

fifty million dollars they're not good

they have to find somebody else to

invest otherwise those people who've

already invested into this equity

crowdfunding campaign have basically

lost their money because they'll go out

of business and right here it says

they'll actually need thirty five

million dollars to create a fifty four

megawatt that they need to actually


manufacturing facilities say right off

the bat there it's 35 million dollars or

bust and this amount does not include

the money required to actually

manufacture the PV modules for sale so

wow this is a high-stakes game and then

I'll leave you to read all the rest

about all the regular stuff outside of

their control they're an early-stage

startup company so you know the

technology is not actually proving yet

on any sort of scale that makes its are

commercially viable they're dependent

upon this particular particle

accelerator which they having delivered

this year I believe they've already

ordered it and it's on its way so

developing new products encounters and

anyway there's all sorts of stuff which

is all fully disclosed here and it's

very very frank about the huge risks

involved in this thing and that's my

main reason for doing this video because

this has now been promoted by Bill Nye

the Science Guy and also minutephysics

to their minutephysics is four million

our subscribers it's like a huge market

and really they haven't linked in the

risk I know all this risk security

Exchange Commission stuff is actually

linked on the website it's all part of

the investment please read our office

circulate so it's all disclosed but I'm

just afraid that people will you know

take a minute physics as video as like

an endorsement and not really do the due

diligence research and you can't really

blame people for not going in and

reading all the details in here and

that's my fear I just wanted to make

people aware that there are huge risks

in investing in a company and technology

like this so anyway I won't go into any

more details I've got another 17 minutes

I'll append at my original video right

now and you can watch that thing that

was my initial reaction to the Bill Nye

the Science Guy promotion and nothing

much has really changed since no real

data has come forth it's easy to

convince guys like me just really show

me the data and that would help me feel

you know more warm and fuzzy about this

particular thing but I can't help

personally thinking that this is one of

the most riskiest investments that I've

seen in the

Tec space but this is not a university

research this is not publicly funded

research this is a commercial company

patent-protected company trying to raise

50 million dollars through equity

crowdfunding so there you go I just want

to make people aware of that and Wow

have they really raised 2 million bucks

since Henry made that video I think it

worked that was a wise investment on

their part

anyway it's $500 minimum investment by

the way and yeah I wouldn't touch this

which of bargepole

personally but that's just me do your

own research so basically while this

sounds like cool science and it is the

actual prospects for this I not terrific

I mean they're talking about it you know

a small improvement in efficiency

perhaps that may or may not be there

down the track and by their own

best-case marking investments a 60%

reduction in module cost which I don't

think they can get anywhere near because

they're only solving that one problem

with a silicon wafer that's it and

that's only like 15 odd percent which

takes it out of the module cost which

takes it out and down to sub 10 percent

of the module cost which is nothing

groundbreaking at all so yeah this is

not revolutionary stuff but still cool

science so there you go I hope they

helped out some people there with some

information and as I said I'll link in

the 17-minute video with more details at

the end of this because I am a huge

supporter of solar power renewable

energy all that sort of stuff I got I'll

link in a whole bunch of our solar power

solar energy videos I've done at the end

of this video if you want to check those

out so please don't say I'm anti science

any innovation all that sort of stuff

I'm definitely not I just think people

need to be aware of what sort of

investment that's actually been promoted

here and it essentially is being

promoted by default of Henry actually

doing this video in which I'm fully

supportive of him actually doing this if

you know he's obviously passionate it

fits his channel everything's just fine

and dandy the content was great any

he wants to do this that's fine I fully

support him it's not like I'm gonna stop

watching in a ragequit or something like

that I just you know see this as a

commercial investment promotion and I'm

just trying to put some facts across

there but I want to know what you guys

think about this do you think Henry

maybe made a mistake from posting this

video maybe did he cross some sort of

line for you in promoting is it a an

effective promotion of a commercial

investment type thing or do you have no

problems with it whatsoever I really

wanna know what you think so leave it in

the comments down below so I hope you

enjoyed that if you did please give it a

big thumbs up because that always helps

a lot and here comes the 17 minute video

I originally done nothing much has

really changed since then except they've

got Henry to promote it as well as Bill

Nye the Science Guy anyway

catch you next time okay I was gonna

link in the whole video but I realized

that a lot of the stuff I just go over

again that I've already explained in

this 17 minute video is supposed to be

shorter so I've really edited this down

and if you want to watch the full video

I did a couple of months back I'll link

it in it's over on the eevblog 2 channel

so this one's really edited for brevity

somebody on the EEV blog forum was

complaining me what is this it smells a

bit you know

BSE um well let's let's check it out

show anything so they've raised 3 Paul

most three point two million dollars of

their goal of 50 million dollars so

twenty three hundred and forty four

investors have so far contributed at

least five hundred dollars you're going

to contribute five hundred dollars so

hey good on them right they're raising

money and they've recruited none other

than Bill Nye the Science Guy and take

it away bill let's extol the virtues of

this wonderful new manufacturing

technology it can convert sunlight into

electricity with a couple of thin

silicon wafers in a sandwich a very thin

one for decades to get a thin piece of

pure silicon don't you had to saw it off

a thick piece of pure silicon

saw turns a lot of that silicon into

dust this process behind for making

integrated circuit chips for computers

or smartphones because the amount of

silicon used is so small but for

manufacturing big solar panels out in

the wide open spaces big green cars a

lot to waste a lot of pure silicon the

gang at rate on solar has to happen a

way to chip off an extraordinarily thin

piece of pure so the remark not was a

song with a subatomic particle an atom

smasher it doesn't smash atoms as such

it smashes protons into the a ton of a

chunk of silicon technicians can control

the depth to which these particles

penetrate with precision so they can

place the particles perfectly and once

the particles are perfectly in place

great time writing a nudge using a

little bit of heat just slice your

silicon is set free a little bit of pure

silicon goes a long way sounds great on

that'll do anyway so what they're what

they're doing which is really cool I

like the idea right the concept is

really good there is a lot of waste in

silicon wafers we'll have a look at some

other some data on that in a minute now

first of all this is not their first

attempt at actually raising money for

this thing they've been going there for

quite some time back in 2014 I think it

was 2014-2015 they ran an IndieGoGo

campaign unfortunately they only raised

five grand of their $50,000 flexible

gold not sure what they were going to

produce with their $50,000 but now

they're talking about this so thin that

they're flexible and everything else

okay fine but that doesn't seem to be

there maybe they've like changed their

focus maybe it used to be like like

flexible solar cells now they're just

you know concerned with like mass

producing and commercial and residential

rooftop solar cells just cheaper which

is fantastic and you know it looks stock

images of particle accelerators and

everything else once again like Uncle


Uncle Sam yes what

on earth why I have that on you web like

on your IndieGoGo campaign like American

jobs okay fine any ridiculous so they

didn't raise that so now but they've

raised now our weight raising serious

capital right 3.1 million they are on

their way to their 50 million bucks so

is it true that we waste a lot of these

silicon ingots for manufacturing solar

cells well well actual silicon wafers

which then go into solar cells yes it is

there's you know articles over here and

you know raw material of 50 percent over

50 percent is machined into dust and

stuff like that so yes it's true there's

a lot of wastage or what's called our

kerf loss in these in got manufacturing

when you slice the silicon wafers off so

you know have they come up with some new

whiz-bang technology to do this well yes

but they're not the only ones working on

this of course every man and his dog

working on silicon wafer manufacture for

solar cell production there's many

companies around the world out there

continually researching and optimizing

new ways he is back in 2015 an article

in physics dog or whatever it is on the

Fraunhofer Institute which are coming up

with a new way to actually produce and

in got to do this and if you go over

here it is the furthers their press

release for it back in 2015 you know

yeah it's trying to solve exactly the

same problem they're not the only ones

to do this and the way they're gonna do

it you're gonna read all the details for

yourself as did to basically produce

ingots in a different way instead of

using your regular silicon chip pure

ingots and stuff like that just

manufacture them differently and here's

another company called Applied Materials

this is a our per thing so this is a

government initiative and they're

working to actually do exactly the same

thing two seconds Google search just

turned up this sort of stuff so they've

got that they got a five million dollar

government grant buy it from ARPA so 60%

cheaper panels well they're getting

cheaper and cheaper

in Cheaper every year so yeah you've got

to stay ahead of the curve there but hey

we'll just take them at face value there

even though they've provided no evidence

for this 60% cheaper where they've got

that number from we just don't know it

now efficiency they claim to have the

potential to achieve a twenty four

percent efficiency versus the 19 percent

high level a single cell efficiency rate

well let's go and have a look at current

solar panels so the data is fairly new

from manufacturers and they 19 yeah okay

the bulk is going to maybe we'll take

him at that value in nineteen but

manufacturers like Panasonic and

SunPower for example they are up to

twenty one twenty two percent efficiency

already so you know as the march of

technology continues every year they're

just getting more efficient for a lower

price but hey we'll give them that will

we'll pay that one that typically 19

percent at the moment go to twenty four


there's your twenty five percent more

efficient so yeah their number is you

know spot on but once again where is

their data well I don't see any data

whatsoever to back this up I don't see

any test results I don't see any

performance curves efficiency curves I

don't see any measurements at all in any

of this and like if you go into updates

there's just some update about we're

gonna buy the you know here's an

accelerator we're about to buy one if we

get enough cash please join data and

really change the world blah blah blah

and check this out if we go over to

their YouTube channel there is some

bizarre mix of what like how to get

along with your extended family at

Thanksgiving how to do a facial mask

what what what what's going on here

mixed in with we've got our accelerator

on the way I versus solar and I like and

his bill nighy back ten months ago he

did this apparently our presents and

there's some beauty tips and like mixed

in anyway there is one the only demo

they've got is this which is their solar

cell demo it looks like they've in bed

a solar cell in a condom and there

that's the little so they've produced

one little wafer but like where's the

measurements okay it might be three

microns thick show me the data all right

I'm not convinced unless we get the data

they're all talk they're all hype

they're all marketing and they might

have a cool pattern on a cool idea but

that doesn't turn into practical reality

they've gone into start-up mode right

tried to no they did an unsuccessful

IndieGoGo that was incomplete flop and

then they went AHA we can do equity

crowdfunding will pay bill will up

the money I don't know whether they got

the money from I don't know how much it

cost to get Bill Nighy on here but yeah

we get Bill Nighy and it'll go viral on

Facebook cause it's Bill Nye and and

great marketing that's off right they've

done a really good marketing job but

that seems to be all they have and

there's other companies there's at least

two I found and I could probably find

COO and be surprised if I couldn't find

half a dozen working on ways to reduce

the loss in silicon wafers because I if

you're wasting what is that 60% they

said as the cost menu reduce cost by 60%

just by eliminating the waste there's

companies working on that that's what

they do they eliminate waste and

inefficiency in their processes to

produce more viable products so this

without any data without showing that

it's manufacturable at scale at costs to

get this they too have provide no

evidence where they're going to get

their cost reduction from in actual

manufacturing terms and there's like

they've manufactured one little silicon

cell in a condom so yeah I don't know

flapping around in the breeze there it's

not a scam okay they're just yeah

marking in over substance

you've got to look into the details

before you invest in something like this

cuz T average panner to Joe average on

the street this is it sounds fantastic

invest in solar cell technology the

future and yeah good luck to them

they've already raised 2.8 million in

initial funding I so maybe that's where

that's what went to Bill Nye so that's

not all and of course huge risk in this

one I just don't see any data to back it

up lots of fancy infographics

that's if infographic central I mean

it's just as seen on all the usual crap

right I don't know good good luck to you

guys you look like you know it no it's

not a scam at all they've just got an

interesting idea that may or may not

turn out to be practical so best of luck

but if you're gonna invest in this do

your own research