Solbian started with a wager. Giovanni Soldini and Marco Bianucci (the most important Italian navigator and an affirmed physicist) wanted to use solar energy on racing yachts.
It was 2006, and even though photovoltaics had become widespread, solar energy applications on moving vehicles were still in the pioneering stage and unsatisfactory, if the expensive systems on satellites are excluded. Something was missing. The photovoltaic modules used in building construction were too heavy, difficult to apply, with their rigid glass cover, ill-suited to the marine environment and poorly performing due to the inevitable shading on sailing boats.
Marco and Giovanni with a common passion for sailing and renewable energy, joined forces and that was the turning point. The idea was actually very simple, to produce lightweight, flexible photovoltaic modules using the fragile monocrystalline silicon solar cells (the most efficient, apart from very expensive products used in space) and overcome shading issues. The first boat to be fitted with Solbian modules was Giovanni Soldini’s Class 40. It had 15 small modules, each with its own charge controller, specifically developed by the University of Salerno as similar products were not available on the market. A concept which would later be called distributed MPPT, the most efficient method for optimizing energy production on moving vehicles, with varying orientation and shading.
In 2007, Giovanni won the "Transat Jacques Vabre" in the summer and the "Ostar" in the winter, helped by a lighter boat due to the need for less fuel. The future of photovoltaics in yachting became clear.
Solbian then grew, adding industrial resources and individual skills, and through the technological development of both photovoltaic modules and control electronics. Solbian products were not only supplied to racing yachts and the marine industry in general, but also to hundreds of applications in many different fields. From the obvious use on campers and caravans to mountain huts, from tents to humanitarian installations, from the most futuristic architectural applications to solar racing cars, from electric bike charging stations to solar chargers for cellphones and tablets.
A broadening range of applications runs hand in hand with technological development, thanks to advances in the fields of polymer chemistry and electronics.