Nanosolar: We Could Make Solar Tubes, If We Wanted To


The CEO of Nanosolar, Martin Roscheisen, wants to tell everyone that his thin-film solar startup can make tube-shaped solar panels similar to a certain other thin film startup — which he doesn’t name, but is pretty clearly Solyndra — but that he doesn’t see the business model in the tubular approach. Roscheisen writes in a very long blog post this evening that Nanosolar has looked into, and prototyped, solar tubes for rooftops but that they have decided that solar tubes “are worse on most if not all metrics” compared to flat solar panels.

No one can accuse Roscheisen of not speaking his mind or ever writing an unsensational blog post. Roscheisen even includes a picture of Nanosolar’s prototype solar tubes, which he tells us in an email can be made at “less than a third of the cost achievable by a competitor.” Oh you know, just a random competitor, no one specific.


The blog post is so detailed you should probably read all the arguments against why he thinks solar tubes are not a good way to go. And perhaps there are some valid arguments in there that could help put a more critical lens on the solar tube approach. We’ll leave you with our favorite quote:

Because based on the capability we have at Nanosolar to make a direct, apples-to-apples comparison between a tubular and a standard flat panel package (by either rolling our flexible cells or packaging them flat), we find that tubular panels are worse on most if not all metrics.


Chaitanya Patankar

Solar thin film against the tube shaped solar panels they seem like two sides of the same coin. Both have their advantages, I havent used or worked with tube shaped solar so i cant have my say on it. Ultimately its solar electricity which will be produced by using both of them.

Ken Hinton

I am a buisnessman wnting to improve not only myself but also my community in the realm of solar power. I have had some knowledge in this regard even to help my neighbour to build a solar panel out of coal dust. It was highly efficient.
What I would like is to find out how to get hold of thin film solar panels and the building of the same for commercial use.

Uncle B

Location, Location, Location! Some folks might prefer one to the other type, but mostly the market place will decide, and with the (GRD) great republican depression pushing independent and off grid as well as Zero running cost, Zero upkeep survival dwellings, likely the market place can accommodate both! The GRD has yet to reflect the soon to rise (OPEC meets this month) oil prices, and the diluted dollar will also show as increases in oil prices, so get ready for a a double whammy, America, and expect plug in Smart cars from China at Walmart near you for $6000.00 a copy soon!
The GRD will also bring the bankruptcy of the commercial food supply chain. be prepared to grow your own food under LED growing lights supplied by PV sources or starve! Like any other large corporations, the commercial food supply chains depend on a volume market and banks for financing, not proven so dependable now-a-days! So, LED up your greenhouse, add solar PV power and pray for your fellow Americans that are totally dependent on the system, it is collapsing as we speak!

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