My First View of Solyndra Up Close



Solyndra CIGS Panels on South Houston High

I had a chance to see my first Solyndra solar panels in action today.
Three organizations run by friends of mine, HARC, Ignite Solar, and American Electric Technologies, are partnered up to install a 145 kW uber photovoltaic test bed on two schools (Sam Rayburn and South Houston) in Pasadena ISD in Houston, Texas.  They were scrambling around on the roof doing the installation as I watched. A very cool experience.

They’re stuffing an array of 182 Wp Solyndra panels across from an array of 210 Wp Moser Baer crystalline silicon panels on a flat roof penetrating fixed mounting at a 10 degree angle, next door to Uni-Solar amorphous silicon flexible panels (there photovoltaic laminate products) from Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq:ENER) with a non penetrating adhesive backing on a 22 degree ribbed roof next to more of the Moser Baer in a non roof penetrating mount on that 22 degree roof. Later they’re putting in more Moser Baer crystalline on trackers.

Unisolar Stick on Amorphous Panels

All the systems are to be wired up to AETI inverters, and will have a weather station, temperature sensors and monitoring.  HARC, the Houston Area Research Council is the system owner, and will monitor the lab for Pasadena ISD, plus they are putting in a kiosk in the schools so the students can see the side by side results live, technology vs technology and school vs school.

A few interesting tidbits.  You gotta love all those slef shadows underneath the 90 Solyndra modules, we will be very interested to see what they actually deliver – though for the price difference, it had better be spectacular.   I hadn’t seen the Uni-Solar product just stuck straight on to a roof before, quite amazing.  The Moser Baer product I’d seen, but it’ll be interesting to watch it go head to head with thin film in different configurations, it’s certainly got the highest power rating of the systems tested.

What really excites me is the side by side comparison.  Ignite and HARC told me they can get actual performance data from each technology type and configuration, that we can compare to costs and rated performance, as well as weather and temperature data, and hopefully this time next year we’ll be publishing a who beat who account with an overunder graph!

Neal Dikeman is a Partner and Jane Capital Partners, a cleantech and alternative energy merchant bank.  He was a cofounder of Zenergy Power, and the founding CEO of Carbonflow, and helped launch Meridan Energy’s solar business, as well as is Chief Blogger of Cleantechblog.com and Chairman of Cleantech.org. A Texas Aggie, his current project is helping grow Jane Capital’s most recent company, Greenhome.com.

5 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Great comparison; a-Si, c-Si, and thin film CIGS. However, do the Solyndra panels have a white reflective roof top that will utilize & optimize the cylindrical design ?If not, the comparison will not yield good data in the case of the cylindrical CIGS thin film.

  2. yoyo
    yoyo says:

    Hi Neal,thanks for the info, this project will be a very good real world assessment of Solyndra's performance claims.can you be more specific about the price difference between the 2 installation? specifically the land use, module, and installation cost.

  3. Nancy Johnson
    Nancy Johnson says:

    TESLA TAKES GOVERNMENT TAX MONEY SAYING THEY WILL CREATE U.S. JOBS and then hires FOREIGNERS: : Look at the ads Tesla has placed on LInkedIn: "Senior Immigration Paralegal – Tesla Motors- Palo Alto, California (San Francisco Bay Area), etc…"

    Elon Musk made a deal with Dianne Feinstein to take over the NUMMI plant so it would look like she saved jobs but, in fact, almost no NUMMI staff were hired and Tesla does not even know how to set-up the factory.

    John Doerr & Steve Westly ran Steven Chu's nomination and forced the White House to appoint him and then forced Steven Chu to fund their company: Tesla Motors.

    Tesla cooked the books to get DOE funding.

    The CEO & senior staff lied to the City of San Jose about building their car factory there and those communications are actionable.

    The CEO & senior staff lied to multiple other cities about building their car factory there and those communications are actionable. They always promise a city or country a factory or sales office and then pull out.

    The CEO has been sued by his staff, his wife, his business partners and his suppliers for manipulation and unethical behavior.

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    The CEO cheated on his wife with escorts while married. The values of the CEO are the values of the Company. Eolon Musk hires most of the escorts in Silicon Valley.

    The car electromagnetic radiation fields from the battery pack cause cancer.

    They bribed officials to get their federal loan and the funds expended by them to get that loan are being traced back to sources. The McKinsey guys at DOE are connected on paper to Tesla in extensive conflicts of interest.

    He was $100,000.00 off, PER CAR, on the cost to build each car. The company has blown tens of millions of dollars on work it had to completely dump in the garbage and start over on.

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    (Free to repost)

  4. Ray Park
    Ray Park says:

    Over 120 people associated with the Dept. of Energy, directly and indirectly, are now under criminal investigation by the FBI, DOJ, Treasury, OMB, GAO and multiple committees. What is coming out is that the DOE has operated as a CITADEL OF CORRUPTION and Secretary Chu should be indicted.

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