Fremont, California photovoltaics maker Solyndra took the wraps off an innovative twist on traditional solar panels recently, revealing a product that promises to make it easier and cheaper than ever before to install rooftop solar generation. Plus, some $600 million in funding is enabling Solyndra to greatly increase the capacity of its current Fremont manufacturing plant and make plans for another plant.
Where most photovoltaic systems use large, flat panels that require sturdy rooftop mounting systems, sometimes are vulnerable to high winds and require the panels to be angled and oriented toward the sun. Solyra uses a thin-film technology and wraps the film around the inside of a series of narrow tubes.
This not only allows the Solyndra system to turn sunlight into electricity efficiently, it also means the panels can be installed flat against the roof, without the need to position the panels as carefully traditional panels require. Plus, because its tubes are an inch wide and an inch apart, the Solyndra panels don't catch the wind like regular solar panels do and don't require such sturdy supports.
The upshot is that installation of a Solyndra system reportedly costs roughly half what it takes to put up most other rooftop solar systems.
VentureBeat reports that Solyndra investors include Virgin Green Fund, Rockport Capital, Argonaut Ventures, RedPoint Ventures, CMEA Ventures, US Venture Partners and the Masdar Clean Tech Fund, as well as Madrone Capital, which funded First Solar.