Taking a Tip from Floor Tiles: Solarmation Makes Concentrating Solar More Modular

solarmation-quasar-lgConcentrating photovoltaic technologies, which magnify sunlight and direct it onto solar cells, hold potential to increase the efficiency of a solar-power system. But several analysts — including Jenny Chase, head of solar research at New Energy Finance — say that CPV is likely to be more expensive than conventional solar-panel systems, which have been rapidly falling in price. And because CPV systems have a shorter track record and include moving parts to track the sun, some industry insiders are concerned about reliability. Spokane, Wash.-based startup Solarmation thinks it has come up with a technology that can help solve these issues. Read More about Taking a Tip from Floor Tiles: Solarmation Makes Concentrating Solar More Modular

Soliant Energy Focuses With $21M

Soliant Energy, maker of rooftop concentrating photovoltaic systems, has raised almost $21 million in new venture capital, including $2.5 million from GE Energy Financial Services, the company announced today at the Solar Power International conference in San Diego. The financing will be used to help the Monrovia, Calif.-based startup get its as yet-unnamed modular solar product to market by the end of 2009.
Founded in 2005 by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists and engineers as Practical Instruments, the company renamed itself Soliant last year. Soliant says its highly efficient solar system, available in beta form in January 2009, will be able to provide building owners higher returns on their investment compared with other solar systems. Soliant scrapped its first rooftop solar concentrating product, the Heliotube, because it’s long-tube concentrator design just didn’t make sense economically, Jay Goldman, VP of Sales, told us on the show floor at Solar Power.

The key to the company’s new product is the system’s triple-junction solar cells, which can get nearly 40 percent efficiency, coupled with Fresnel technology that concentrates the sunlight 500 times. But Soliant has plenty of competition from other startups looking to cash in on concentrated sunlight. Read More about Soliant Energy Focuses With $21M