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May 4th, 2009

Skyline comes out of hiding, unveils PV-concentrating plant

Published on May 4th, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

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A new name in PV manufacturing, Skyline Solar, went public today with its business plans and demonstrations of its High Gain Solar arrays technology that it claims will bring the cost of solar power to competitive levels in the normal electricity market. The HGS system, which uses a novel parabolic reflector arrangement, is being targeted at commercial, government and utility markets.

Skyline’s announcement today is driven in part by the completion of a demonstration project build in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif. (see time-lapse video at the facility, above). The company says the project was completed in eight months and now provides power for a maintenance facility and serves as a proof of concept for Skyline’s technology strategy.

Besides the reflector arrangement HGS features single-axis vertical tracking, plus compact PV collectors and convection cooling. In a news release, Skyline says, “HGS architecture delivers ten times more energy per gram of silicon versus traditional flat-panel systems in sunny locations and offers industry-leading energy density.”

Like other concentrator systems, Skyline says it can use less silicon (90 percent less) and produce more power. The company also says savings comes from having a system that has 66 percent fewer parts versus traditional single axis tracking systems. Besides cutting manufacturing costs, fewer parts presumably means lower maintenance costs.

Skyline says that pilot manufacturing of HGS components is underway in the U.S. and Asia. It has received $24.6 million venture financing from New Enterprise Associates and has signed a developmental contract with the DOE for $3 million. Skyline Solar was selected as one of six solar photovoltaic technology companies to receive a grant under the DOE’s Solar America Initiative. The company was cited as developing a technology that could “make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity.”


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