Thin film solar maker Nanosolar pulled back the kimono a bit last month, discussing some tech advances and demonstrating that it’s moved into high volume production. And now it’s time for more details about partnership announcements, considering the big solar conference Solar Power International 2009 is next week — this morning Nanosolar said it’s partnered with mounting system maker SunLink.
SunLink is developing custom mounting technology for Nanosolar that will stick Nanosolar’s thin film flat panels onto rooftops in a three step installation process, with less materials needed and at a lower cost. SunLink says that it used computer simulations and wind tunnel testing over the course of 2 years to figure out the best way to engineer the mounting architecture. Will we get to see it at the Solar Power convention? I hope so, though SunLink says the combined Nanosolar panel and mounting system will be available for purchase in “early 2010.”
It might just be one partnership deal, but for those who’ve followed Nanosolar for awhile, and have been eagerly awaiting the company to move into commercial production, this seems like a significant step. And it’s interesting that Nanosolar looked for a custom solution, rather than finding one that was already on the market. The deal is also a high-profile one for San Rafael, Calif.-based SunLink, which says its mounting technology is already being used in 60 MW of projects across 400 sites.
Now that Nanosolar is saying that it’s panels will be for sale in “early 2010,” it shows how long it takes from the first initial productions to commercial production for these advanced thin film solar makers. Nanosolar first claimed to start production in December of 2007, so it will have taken over two complete years to ramp up between that time. Not that it should take any less time, given the very new nature of the technology and the production process. Now we’ll be waiting to see the panels go on sale within the first half of 2010.