The Californian branch of Solyndra, based in Fremont, has recently finished the latest solar panels installation on a warehouse rooftop near Toulouse, France. The largest system of Solyndra in France consists of more than 7,080 in-house made panels, and will generate around 1,360 MWh a year.
The solar power array was completed by Nazca, one of Solyndra’s French installation partners, on the rooftop of a warehouse owned by Port de Barcelona, one of the main commercial transport and distribution arteries in the Mediterranean area.
Despite this fact, back in the U.S., the company is under heavy criticism due to the support received in 2009 from the Obama administration. At that time, Solyndra was offered a loan guarantee, as part of the Recovery Act stimulus bill, which attracted a billion-worth private VC fundings, even after the Great Recession. However, the U.S. government got in too late.
Solyndra looked like a sure green investment to the U.S. government, mainly because they manufacture of a unique cylindrical solar panel, capable of converting reflected light from all incidental angles when installed on flat white building roofs and easily to install, almost like unfolding a deck of cards. This was possible due to a thin film-type material, cheaper than traditional silicon solar.
The solar technology made considerably advances in the past few years, leading the European innovations to outperform the United States’. The result was an incredible drop in solar prices worldwide, that are flirting with $1 per watt, making them cheaper than thin film.
But when one includes the installation costs, traditional silicon panels are significantly more labor-intensive than thin-film panels, that do not need to have roof penetration.