On May 10, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II announced that four companies will receive $520,000 in total funding through the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform (MMFP) for the real-world testing and deployment of mobility projects across the state, including APT Solar Solutions, a start-up founded by Mojtaba Akhavan-Tafti.
With these grants, the state of Michigan hopes to enable mobility solutions that will help upgrade existing infrastructure and capabilities to accommodate a new era of mobility and electrification, according to the press release. In partnership with key startups, local, state and federal officials, APT Solar Solutions is among the four companies that will receive funding to address mobility challenges across the state.
APT Solar Solutions will improve the reliability of solar lighting by integrating 3D Solar Lighting Fixtures into existing transportation and urban infrastructures for enhanced mobility safety, sustainability and equity.
Thanks to the innovation of Dr. Akhavan-Tafti, an assistant research scientist at U-M Climate and Space, Adaptable Powerful Transformative Solar Solutions (APTSS) has developed a proprietary, market-ready, off-grid, clean electricity platform in the form of a compact 3D solar module that significantly improves the reliability and performance of solar products. The 3D Solar Lighting Fixtures can be easily integrated into existing transportation and urban infrastructures, and require minimal maintenance once installed. The solution offers a more affordable and immediate alternative to building out grid-connected lighting from an Ann Arbor company.
Using MMFP assistance, APTSS will deploy 100 of its 3D Solar Lighting Fixtures across Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The pilot project will measure how the solution improves safety, equity and economic opportunity by decreasing nighttime safety incidents and increasing access for mobility-impaired individuals. APTSS also aims to contribute to the creation or retention of clean manufacturing jobs in Michigan as it expands to commercialization in 2023. This pilot program will be pivotal to the company’s ability to finalize design and demonstrate the product’s competitive advantage, aligned with their vision of a cleaner, and more versatile solar grid, termed Solar Forest.
As part of the pilot program, APTSS will partner with organizations in both the private and public sectors, including university campuses, municipalities, marina authorities, and non-profit transportation organizations, to deploy the fixtures that will help provide on-demand lighting on walkways, trails, bike lanes, boat docks, driveways, traffic signages and bus stations.
“This technology compliments the City’s placemaking strategies along current and future non-motorized pathways by enhancing safety measures and promoting sustainability,” said City of Southfield Director of Planning Terry Croad, in a press release. “Ultimately, the solar lighting fixtures will make it possible to construct additional pathway segments in locations that are thought to be a deterrent to pedestrians, such as under freeway overpasses, heavily wooded parks, or other routes with limited illumination.”
“Investing in clean energy, like solar, is a huge priority for myself and my constituents,” said State Rep. Felicia Brabec, in a press release. “Based in Ann Arbor, APT Solar Solutions is incredibly deserving of an MMFP grant, and I look forward to seeing the impacts of this pilot project on our local community and the implication statewide.”
Launched by the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME), in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the MMFP focuses on catalyzing and scaling mobility solutions that improve environmental sustainability by encouraging EV adoption and charging infrastructure buildout, increasing access to affordable and reliable transportation options, and modernizing existing transportation systems.