1 March 2011

Solyndra closes $75m credit facility

Solyndra Inc of Fremont, CA, USA, which makes cylindrical copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) systems consisting of panels and mounting hardware for commercial and industrial rooftops, has closed a new $75m secured credit facility underwritten by existing investors. Proceeds from the financing will be used to support Solyndra’s working capital requirements, accelerate the firm's ongoing cost-reduction activities, and execute its expanded channel and segment sales and marketing strategy.

Solyndra’s proprietary tubular thin-film solar panels have a ‘self-tracking’ design — with a 360º photovoltaic surface capable of absorbing direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight (from below) — that capture more sunlight from low-slope rooftops at a lower installed cost 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.

“Solyndra has excellent marketplace momentum, with record installations of our product in the fourth quarter and annual revenues exceeding $140m last year,” says president & CEO Brian Harrison. “With strong acceptance of our 200 Series product [launched last October at the Solar Power International 2010 show in Los Angeles], we are seeing growth in the US and markets throughout Europe,” he adds. “We have recently reached a number of significant milestones, including the shipment of nearly 100MW of panels, the completion of more than 1000 installations in 20 countries and the announcement of our PV greenhouse solution.”

Construction of the firm’s new 300,000ft2 manufacturing and customer demonstration facility (employing about 3000 construction workers) has now been completed ahead of schedule. Installation of the remaining production tools will take place in 2011, raising Solyndra’s annual production run rate to about 200MW by year’s end and 300MW when fully ramped. The new facility will also enable Solyndra to manufacture products with an installed system cost-of-goods sold (COGS) of about $2 per watt in first-quarter 2013, which is expected to be highly competitive with all other technologies.

“With this round of funding and the continued support of our existing investors we are on track to be cash flow positive at the end of this year,” reckons Harrison. “Solyndra’s fast and easy-to-install panels are a proven and scalable solar solution, ideal for rooftop applications,” he adds. “Today we are demonstrating competitive ‘all in’ pricing, strong ROI and economics for rooftop owners, and many enthusiastic new and repeat customers.”

The new financing also included restructuring of the firm’s outstanding indebtedness. Solyndra’s existing convertible notes have been exchanged for new notes, and the US Department of Energy (which provided a $535m loan guarantee in March 2009) agreed to certain loan modifications including an extension of the amortization period. Together with the existing indebtedness, the new credit facility is secured by all assets of the company.

Tags: Solyndra CIGS

Visit: www.solyndra.com

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