Skyline Solar Emerges From Stealth After Achieving Key Customer, Development & Financing Milestones

May 04, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Skyline Solar, a manufacturer of High Gain Solar (HGS) arrays for the commercial, industrial, government and utility markets, announced the launch of the company and its HGS architecture after achieving key product, financing and customer milestones. Skyline Solar states that its HGS architecture delivers the performance and durability of tracked silicon at the cost of thin-film technologies in sunny climates thereby accelerating the path to grid parity.

In conjunction with the formal launch of the company and its HGS architecture, Skyline Solar announced that it has reached several key corporate milestones.

The company has entered into a public-private partnership agreement with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to construct its initial demonstration plant in San Jose, California. VTA is an independent special district that is responsible for bus, light rail and paratransit operations; congestion management; specific highway improvement projects; countywide transportation planning throughout Santa Clara County. The system was completed only eight months after the company received its Series A financing.

After a year of under-sun reliability and system testing at the company’s Mountain View, California headquarters, Skyline has submitted components of its HGS system for certification and has entered pilot manufacturing in the U.S. and Asia.

Skyline has received an equity investment from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and several other financial and strategic investors. In addition, in the first quarter of 2009, the company signed a developmental contract with the DOE for $3 million. Skyline Solar was selected as one of six solar photovoltaic technology companies to receive funding under the DOE’s Solar America Initiative. The company was cited as developing a technology that could "make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity."

The company also has attracted top executive talent from a number of relevant industries, including solar, finance, manufacturing and logistics. Skyline’s board of directors includes current and former executives and board members of SolFocus, Suniva, Deeya Energy, Emcore, Cobalt Power Systems and Solar Junction.

Skyline claims that its HGS architecture delivers ten times more energy per gram of silicon versus traditional flat-panel systems in sunny locations and offers what is described as industry-leading energy density. Skyline HGS arrays are said to combine industry-proven silicon cells, durable reflector materials and single-axis tracking into a complete, easy-to-deploy system. Built primarily out of commodity materials with globally available manufacturing processes from the PV and automotive industries, Skyline states that its HGS simultaneously improves financial payback and scalability. As a result, Skyline Solar believes the HGS architecture is the fastest path to grid parity. The company states that its HGS uses 90% less silicon and 66% fewer parts versus traditional flat panel solar power plants. The system uses widely available materials translating into a scalable manufacturing process.

"Skyline Solar is focused on a single goal as a company – accelerating the deployment of solar energy to meaningfully offset fossil fuel consumption. This requires rapidly achieving grid parity and dramatically improving scalability of PV systems," said Bob MacDonald, CEO of Skyline Solar and a solar industry veteran. "We have a laser-like focus on real-world system performance and delivering the lowest cost of energy in the industry. We believe that we can help solar integrators, project developers and project finance firms reduce the cost and complexity of system installation, while delivering a high-yield, low maintenance system for their commercial, industrial and utility customers."