Penn State Solar Decathlon & Solyndra Solar PV Tubes

Here is a close look at the competition entry by Penn State University for the Solar Decathlon, as well as a video of the Solar PV technology developed by Solyndra that was integrated into the scheme.

For typical conventional PV installations, a solar panel is approximately half the cost of a complete installation; the other half includes additional expenses such as labor mounts, cables and inverters. Solyndra provides a packaged system comprised of panels and mounting hardware required to assemble standard-sized arrays.

To meet rooftop wind loading requirements, conventional flat solar panels must be anchored to commercial roofs with either ballast or rooftop penetrations, which are inherently problematic. Together with the need for tilting, the resulting complex mounting systems require significant and costly investment in labor, materials and engineering.

Solyndra’s system enables its customers to realize significant savings on installation costs. Because wind blows through Solyndra’s panels and horizontal mounting is optimum, simple, non-penetrating mounting hardware is used in the Solyndra system. No roof penetrations, attachments or ballast are needed. Panels and mounts are quickly attached together, enabling installations to be done in one third of the time of conventional PV installations. After the installation is complete, these same attributes enable Solyndra systems to be easily moved for relocation or roof servicing.

Connect Mounting Hardware

Easy Panel Transport

Place, Plug in DC Connectors and Ground Strap

Install Lateral Clip

Solyndra designs, manufactures and sells solar photovoltaic (PV) systems comprised of panels and mounting hardware for large, low-slope commercial rooftops. The Solyndra system is designed to optimize PV performance on commercial rooftops by converting more of the sunlight that strikes the total rooftop area into electricity.

Solyndra’s panels employ cylindrical modules which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. Solyndra’s panels perform optimally when mounted horizontally and packed closely together, thereby covering significantly more of the typically available roof area and producing more electricity per rooftop on an annual basis than a conventional panel installation. The result is significantly more solar electricity per rooftop per year.

The Solyndra system is lightweight and the panels allow wind to blow through them. These factors enable the installation of PV on a broader range of rooftops without anchoring or ballast, which are inherently problematic. The horizontal mounting and unique “air-flow” properties of Solyndra’s solar panel design substantially simplify the installation process for Solyndra’s PV systems. The ease of installation and simpler mounting hardware of the Solyndra system enables its customers to realize significant savings on installation costs.

Using proprietary cylindrical CIGS modules and thin-film technology, Solyndra systems are designed to provide the lowest installation cost per system and the highest annual solar electrical energy output for typical low slope commercial rooftops.


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