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Solar & Alternative Energy

Solyndra: thin film solar from all angles

Buffeted by the ups and downs of the solar market, Solyndra forges ahead with its innovative, US-made technology.
17 March 2011, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201103.02
Solyndra Inc. is a maker of copper-indium-gallium-selenide solar panels for rooftop installations. Solyndra's product is a unique tubular design, with the one-inch diameter tubes arranged into arrays that are easily installed on white roofs.

Affected by everything from feed-in tariffs to natural disasters, the solar industry is undergoing a shakeout, and the challenges are significant as companies strive for grid parity.

In 2010, the company opened a state-of-the-art, billion-dollar factory in Fremont, California. With a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy and considerably more in venture capital, Solyndra received plenty of media attention, especially after a visit from President Obama. But in November, the company announced it would close its older factory and cut its three-year production targets by half. Despite the setbacks, the company remains optimistic about its future path.

SPIE visited Solyndra in January 2011, and Director of Corporate Communications David Miller introduced the company's technology and its brand-new manufacturing facility in Fremont, California.