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Solar New Solar The new shape of solar Optimized photovoltaic systems for commercial rooftops

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Solar Goes From Gardens to Gigabucks - Wired Science


Instead of the standard panels mounted on racks that have dominated solar for the last 20 years, Solyndra's cylindrical solar modules collect sunlight more efficiently across a broader range of angles and catch light reflected off the roof itself. The solar cells also contain no silicon, which has been a costly component of most solar systems.


Targeted at a highly specific market — office and big-box rooftops — and with signed contracts in hand, the company, along with a small cadre of other well-funded solar startups, are racing to turn their scientific and engineering marvels into profitable businesses.


Solyndra - The new shape of solar




More electricity per roof


The Solyndra system’s ability to cover more roof and capture more light results in more annual solar electricity generation. Solyndra panels employ cylindrical modules which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. This self-tracking design allows Solyndra's PV systems to capture more sunlight than traditional flat-surfaced solar panels, which require costly tilted mounting devices to improve the capture of direct light, offer poor collection of diffuse light and fail to collect reflected light from rooftops or other installation surfaces.




Superior Wind Performance


Wind naturally flows through the gaps between the modules in Solyndra's panel, greatly simplifying mounting requirements. Even in areas with high winds, there is no need for roof-penetrating mounts or ballast to hold Solyndra panels in place. Solyndra's panels have been tested and are certified for use in winds of up to 208km/h (130mph). Further, having a distributed rooftop load of 16kg/m2 (3.3lbs/ft2), Solyndra's self-ballasting systems can be used on buildings that would otherwise require structural reinforcement to harvest solar power. Additionally, Solyndra panels impart negligible resultant upward or downward wind loads on a roof structure.



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