Solyndra Signs $320M Deal for Cooler Solar Roofs

solyndraTubular solar startup Solyndra piled on more sales contracts and today announced a $320 million deal with Carlisle Energy Services, a newly formed division of Carlisle Construction Materials. The deal is for 100 megawatts of panels over five years. Carlisle will work with an independent solar integrator to sell and install the cylindrical thin-film solar panels in conjunction with its Energy Star-certified, cool roof systems for commercial buildings.

The companies say that the reflective white roofing membrane boosts the electrical output of Solyndra’s solar panels, which can absorb sunlight from all directions, by 20 percent. Carlisle has already installed a Solyndra solar system on the roof of its roofing membrane manufacturing plant (see picture) and tells us the entire system went up in just one day.

This deal is in addition to Solyndra’s previously announced $1.2 billion in backlogged sales, which include contracts with German solar integrators GeckoLogic GmbH and Phoenix Solar as well as U.S.-based solar manufacturer and integrator Solar Power Inc. Today’s announced sale pushes Solyndra’s customer contracts up to $1.52 billion.

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Solyndra’s special sauce is in its unique panel design. A photovoltaic copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) compound is wrapped around a series of tubes until they resemble a row of black, fluorescent lights. Each module is curved to catch the maximum amount of light from any direction, so the panels don’t need to be carefully angled or laboriously secured like traditional PV panels.

Solyndra currently operates a fabrication line at its headquarters in Fremont, Calif., and has a planned manufacturing facility in nearby Milpitas. The 300,000-square-foot Fremont facility has a production capacity of 110 megawatts and, when completed, the Milpitas plant will add 420 megawatts of capacity.

The company just came out of stealth last month but was founded three years ago. Solyndra says it has already raised more than $600 million from investors like Redpoint Ventures, RockPort Capital, Argonaut, CMEA Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, the Walton Family Fund, Madrone Capital, Abu Dubai’s MASDAR and Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund.

Images courtesy of Solyndra and Carlisle.

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