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Detroit's GreenLancer Wins Top Startup Award At Global Solar Show

CHICAGO (WWJ) --, the Detroit-based startup that has assembled a team of solar energy engineering freelancers, won first place in a new competition at last week's Solar Power International show in Chicago.

GreenLancer took place in the "Start-Up Alley Challenge," an event designed to let solar startups gain visibility and access to major industry figures.

"At so many major events, finding the startup companies with innovative ideas is like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack," said Mike Dersohwitz, president of ModSolar and the driving force behind the competition. "Start-up Alley puts all the needles in one place."

There were 19 semifinalists in the competition, who all got a free booth at

Winners were judged by a panel of solar industry experts, including Raghu Belur, co-founder and vice president of products and strategic initiatives at Enphase Energy, a Petaluma, Calif. producer of solar electric inverters; David Drescher, vice president of wind and solar at Chicago-based power producer Exelon Generation; Declan Flanagen, CEO of the Chicago solar builder Lincoln Renewable Energy LLC; Adam Lerner, vice president of the Chicago investment firm McNally Capital LLC; Daniel Li of Wanxiang, the Chinese manufacturing firm that recently bought A123 Systems, the battery manufacturer with plants in Livonia and Romulus; Steve Markscheid, a director at JinkoSolar Holding Co., a Chinese solar panel manufacturer; Jigar Shah, the founder of SunEdison and now CEO of New York City-based Jigar Shah Consulting; and Stephen Weiland, a vice president in the cleantech investment banking practice at KPMG Corporate Finance in Chicago.

The judges said GreenLancer won because it took aim at a significant reduction in the soft costs of solar projects, using an e-commerce platform to provide design and engineering services.

"GrenLancer stood out among the competition by demonstrating a visionary and innovative business model," Shah said.

View the award ceremony at

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