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Solar tech eases PV installation, lowers expenses

Posted: 10 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar power? PV panel? photovoltaic?

Solyndra Inc. has released a new photovoltaic (PV) system that consists of panels and mounting hardware designed for commercial rooftops. It claimed the new solar system can produce more solar electricity in an annual basis from typical low-slope commercial rooftops with cheaper installation costs than conventional flat-panel PV technologies.

Solyndra, built in 2005, has been creating technology and manufacturing capacity to produce its proprietary copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)-based thin-film PV system. The company is currently shipping its systems to achieve more than $1.2 billion of multiyear contracts, along with customers in Europe and the United States.

Its proprietary panels employ cylindrical modules that capture sunlight across a 360 PV surface that can convert direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. The company said the self-tracking design permits the PV systems to capture significantly more sunlight than previously flat-surfaced solar panels.

At the same time, the panels are believed to perform well when they are mounted horizontally and packed closely together, covering more of the roof area and have more electricity per rooftop.

The new design also hastens installation and minimizes costs. According to Solyndra, for conventional PV installations, a solar panel's cost is reduced 50 percent of the total installation. The other half includes other expenses such as installations, cables and inverters. Solyndra panels, which have horizontal mounting and unique airflow properties, remove the need for roof-penetrating mounts and wind ballasts.

"By minimizing the need for roof-penetrating mounts and wind ballasts, PV arrays with Solyndra panels can be installed with one-third the labor, one-third of the time, and one-half of the cost," said Manfred Baechler, chief technical officer, Phoenix Solar AG, one of the providers of solar power integrators in Europe. "For commercial rooftops, PV module installation time can now be measured in days, not weeks. For flat commercial rooftops, this is game-changing technology," he stressed.

-Gina Roos

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