Solyndra Reshapes Solar Panels For Commercial Rooftops
Solyndra, Inc. announced a new solar photovoltaic (PV) system for the commercial rooftop market. Solyndra’s PV system is designed to generate significantly more solar electricity on an annual basis from typical low-slope commercial rooftops with lower installation costs than conventional PV flat panel technologies. The company states that commercial rooftops represent a vast, underutilized resource and huge opportunity for generating solar electricity.
Since its founding in 2005, Solyndra has been developing technology and ramping manufacturing capacity to produce its proprietary CIGS-based thin film PV system. Solyndra is currently shipping its systems, comprised of panels and mounting hardware, to fulfill more than $1.2 billion of multi-year contracts with customers in Europe and the United States.
Solyndra’s panels employ cylindrical modules which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. This self-tracking design is said to allow Solyndra’s PV systems to capture significantly more sunlight than traditional flat-surfaced solar panels, which require costly tilted mounting devices to improve the capture of direct light, offer poor collection of diffuse light and fail to collect reflected light from rooftops or other installation surfaces.
The company states that conventional flat PV panels must be mounted at an angle and spaced apart for optimum energy production. The sunlight striking the spaces between the panels is not collected and thus is wasted. Solyndra claims that its panels perform optimally when mounted horizontally and packed closely together, thereby covering significantly more of the available roof area and producing more electricity per rooftop on an annual basis than a conventional panel installation.
"By eliminating the need for roof-penetrating mounts and wind ballasts, PV arrays with Solyndra panels can be installed with one-third the labor, in one-third of the time, at one-half the cost," said Manfred Bachler, Chief Technical Officer at Phoenix Solar AG, one of the largest solar power integrators in Europe and a Solyndra customer. "For commercial rooftops, PV module installation time can now be measured in days, not weeks. For flat commercial rooftops this is game-changing technology."
According to Solyndra founder and CEO Chris Gronet, "Solyndra’s system uniquely optimizes PV performance on commercial rooftops by converting more of the sunlight that strikes the total rooftop area into electricity while also providing for a lower installation cost and lower cost of electricity."