“We have 12 years left to limit climate change catastrophe”: this was the main message from the UN IPCC climate report published last year. Juxtaposed against this dire warning stands the mighty sun, shining down upon us enough energy every hour to power the planet’s energy needs for an entire year. The cleanest, greenest, original source of all energy. And now, cheaper than conventional sources of electricity in over half the continental United States. And yet, solar penetration in the country stands at 1%.
How do we go from 1% to 100%? We believe design can play a big role here. Like the cars we drive, the cellphones we use, the homes we live in, solar can and must be both functional and beautiful. Products that not just make rational sense, but also exude emotional appeal, invariably achieve mass adoption. We envision a world where solar energy is iconic, inspirational, and everywhere.
The idea for Sistine was born in 2012 at the Muddy Charles, a cherished campus watering hole at MIT. In that unfettered atmosphere where dreams are pursued, we wondered, “What would the world look like if solar energy were truly beautiful?” Like the most infectious ideas, that question grew on us, so much so that we have been pursuing it ever since.
Two years later, we debuted the concept for SolarSkin with a picture of the Starbucks logo on a prototype solar panel. It looked more a science fair exhibit than a real product. From those humble beginnings, the concept grew wings. A grant from the US Department of Energy followed, then the development of a full color palette to match any roof aesthetic, successful completion of long-term durability testing at NREL, Fraunhofer CSE, and leading outdoor test centers, commercial launch and first customer in 2016.
Today, SolarSkin has been deployed on multiple installations in 9 states around the country, with more slated to launch in the coming months. We are witnessing the joy, the excitement, the sparkle in the eye, when consumers see SolarSkin panels in real life. And we are flooded with new customer inquiries on a daily basis from folks who had never considered solar before. That is the power of design!
CEO & FOUNDER
Senthil has deep experience in the solar sector, having worked at Astonfield Renewables, a start-up utility-scale PV power plant developer. At Astonfield, Senthil helped raise $15M to build one of India's earliest solar power plants under the country’s National Solar Policy. As an early employee, he helped secure its first paying customer and build an 8x growth in project pipeline. Before joining Astonfield, Senthil spent a number of years at GE, holding finance-focused roles in the clean water, infrastructure, and digital media sectors. Senthil holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and a BS in Finance from the University of Bridgeport. In his leisure time, he enjoys Tae Kwon Do, public speaking, and photography.
Samantha is a designer and artist based in New York and Italy who uses her training in mosaic to focus on conceptual and aesthetic experimentation for Sistine. She has experience in design and user experience with creative firms G2, Geometry Global, and frog design, and her artwork has been exhibited internationally, including at the Palazzo Fortuny, in conjunction with the 2015 Venice Biennale, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Sharjah Art Museum (UAE). Samantha graduated with a BA from Harvard in Visual and Environmental Studies and an MFA from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Ravenna, Italy in Experimental Mosaic. She has recently begun playing the accordion.
VP OF PRODUCT
Anthony is the chief architect of Sistine’s flagship technology, SolarSkin. He oversees product development, manufacturing, and supply chain partnerships. Anthony received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus in product design, development, and entrepreneurship, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at MIT, he was involved in various business and green tech programs including the learning community, Terrascope. In addition, he held roles as Chair of the 2017 MIT Ring Committee and Secretary for his class. Anthony brings a technical and passionate mindset to Sistine Solar and has helped to grow the company since 2015.