Rayleigh Solar Tech

Dr. Sam March, Co-founder of Rayleigh, is wearing protective gear while holding a solar cell close to the camera.

A Dal research spinoff with Mitacs funding support

Mitacs has advanced our company goals in a couple of ways. By funding our CEO, the Accelerate Entrepreneur program has facilitated the company's transition from a university-based project. The Mitacs Accelerate and Elevate programs have also provided Rayleigh with continued access to highly qualified personnel and specialized equipment at Dalhousie University. OCIE certainly played a role in helping coordinate these agreements, in addition to several other grants through Nova Scotia Business Inc., which have also been very helpful for our start-up.”

– Dane George, Co-founder of Rayleigh Solar Tech

Dr. March co-founded Rayleigh Solar Tech with Dalhousie engineering alum Dane George while completing his PhD at Dalhousie, which focused on the commercialization of a novel perovskite solar cell at Dalhousie. 

Perovskite is a solution deposited at low temperatures, easy to make, and works really well in solar energy applications. With an efficiency that has skyrocketed to over 23 per cent, perovskite solar cell technology was positioned to be state-of-the-art and cheaper to fabricate than any existing solar tech on the market today. But continued R&D was required to validate the cells and optimize the production process. To do this, Rayleigh Solar Tech team needed to expand their R&D capabilities. Doing so in-house wouldn’t have been possible for an early-stage start-up given the expenses involved. 

Instead, the team partnered with Dr. Ian Hill, a leading researcher in solar energy and nanomaterials. Together, they leveraged the Mitacs Accelerate programto support several projects that allowed Dr. March, Dr. Valitova, and Palaco-Tobia to continue research on perovskite solar cells through access to the world-class facilities and expertise found in Dr. Hill’s Dalhousie laboratory. This way, Rayleigh Solar Tech was able to avoid a massive barrier to start-up success. Now the company has filed two patents, is advancing through the next stages of commercialization, and is preparing for another Mitacs/Dalhousie research collaboration. 

In addition, these Mitacs projects led to industry careers for Dr. Valitova and Palaco-Tobia, who are now full-time employees at Rayleigh Solar Tech. 

Read more about Rayleigh Solar Tech on Dal News: Nova Scotia start‑up game changer for future of clean energy.


  • Dr. Sam March, Co-founder of Rayleigh Solar Tech
    Dr. March was a post-doctoral fellow (PDF) in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science at the time.

  • Dr. Irina Valitova, Senior Researcher at Rayleigh Solar Tech
    Dr. Valitova was a PDF in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science at the time. 

  • Daphne Palaco-Tobia, Researcher at Rayleigh Solar Tech
    Daphne was an undergraduate student at the time.

Faculty Supervisor

  • Dr. Ian Hill – Department of Physics & Atmospheric Science