2 August 2010


Solyndra to provide 16.2MW of PV systems to Southern California Edison

Solyndra Inc of Fremont, CA, USA, which manufactures copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) systems consisting of panels and mounting hardware for commercial rooftops, has been awarded 20-year power purchase agreements to supply Southern California Edison (SCE) with renewable electricity from 16.2MW of solar systems on 18 rooftops. The agreements were awarded to Solyndra’s subsidiary Photon Solar LLC.

“Southern California Edison is demonstrating tremendous leadership in the application of distributed solar electricity to serve its customers and address the state’s renewable energy goals, and we are pleased to be selected as a part of this industry-leading utility-scale rooftop power generation program,” says Corby Whitaker, VP of North America sales. “Rooftop solar takes advantage of unutilized space to generate energy right where it is needed, eliminating the need for costly transmission lines and extensive environmental impact testing and permitting,” he adds.

“The Southern California Edison solar rooftop project will ultimately be held out as an example for the rest of the world, demonstrating the benefits of distributed rooftop power generation in achieving broader renewable generation goals,” believes Marc Ulrich, SCE’s VP of Renewables and Alternative Power. “We are also pleased that Solyndra designs and manufactures their panels in California, which means this project is maintaining and creating jobs here in our State.”

Solyndra’s proprietary thin-film solar panels are built from cylindrical tubes. This ‘self-tracking’ design — with a 360º photovoltaic surface capable of absorbing direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight (from below) — allows the capture of more sunlight from low-slope commercial rooftops than conventional flat-surfaced solar panels, which need costly tilted mounting devices to improve the capture of direct light from the sun, offer poor collection of diffuse light, and fail to collect reflected light. Also, gaps between the tubes and their frame let wind pass through, reducing the need for heavy, roof-penetrating fastenings or anchoring; their lighter weight also allows installation on scantier roofs. Simple horizontal mounting hardware also allows fast and economical installation, claims the firm.

Unlike traditional flat-plate solar modules, Solyndra panels are designed to suit large commercial and industrial rooftops. They can be cost-effectively installed on rooftops that require a distributed load of less than 3 lbs per square foot, which is very typical of ‘big box’ retail, warehouse and other light-industrial roofs which are not designed to support significant additional rooftop weight.

A benefit is that Solyndra’s system can be easily moved in the case of re-roofing, building retrofit or ownership change, which is particularly important to many real-estate owners wishing to receive the cash flow benefits of hosting a solar system without encumbering the sale of the property in the future.

Photon Solar LLC intends to complete construction of the 18 rooftop systems comprising the 16.2MW project during 2011 (subject to California Public Utility Commission approval, financing of the project, certain permitting, and other customary closing conditions).

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