Benefits of a Cylinder
Solyndra designs and manufactures proprietary cylindrical modules incorporating copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology. Our panels employ cylindrical modules which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. In the industry sometimes panels are referred to as modules; at Solyndra, each panel is made up of individual modules.
A Solyndra module starts in our front-end facility as a glass tube and passes through a complex, highly-automated manufacturing process and rigorous quality control before emerging as an encapsulated package ready to efficiently convert energy from the sun. There are approximately 23 steps to build and protect the 195 thin-film solar cells created in the manufacture of each module, encompassing cleaning, deposition, scribing, binning, insertion, filling, testing, panel framing and flash testing.
Each module in a 200 Series panel has 195 individual solar cells.The inner cylinder is protected by a liquid optical coupling agent (OCA) which serves as a moisture barrier and increases the active solar cell surface of the internal tube.
Each module is designed to produce electricity for more than 25 years in the harsh environment of the rooftop.The hermetic seal on our glass tubes ensure the CIGS material inside remains protected from contamination. Each tube is helium leak tested.
Solyndra’s factory has produced over 16 million modules and each day produces approximately 1000 panels or 40,000 modules ramping to more than 3000 panels a day in 2013.
The tubular design of a Solyndra module is “self-tracking”. Collecting light around a 360 degree surface allows it to capture more light early and late in the day. with broader shoulders and less peak during the day. This consistent power generation during the day allows the use of a smaller inverter, saving costs and benefits the overall energy yield of a system over time.
Because of our unique design, light snow falls through the Solyndra panels and the panels actually benefit from the increased albedo (reflected light) from a fresh snowfall. Solyndra systems experience less system loss due to snow.
The cylindrical design attracts less dirt and airborne particles, and moisture or rain that lands or forms on the modules works to clean the cylinders. Research shows that energy loss due to soiling on Solyndra systems is approximately half of that for conventional flat panels.