Gloomy News for the Solar Earning’s Season

SunPower plans to discuss its first-quarter earnings tomorrow, and it’s likely to repeat the same sentiment expressed by fellow manufactures over the past week: Policy change in Italy, its biggest market, caused a slow start for its sales in 2011.

MiaSole Progress Report: 8.5MW Deal with Juwi

This year is shaping up to be a pretty good one for MiaSole, which began to disclose its customers earlier this year after spending roughly two years to get the manufacturing technology right. The Kleiner Perkins-backed company on Tuesday said it has a deal to supply Juwi with 8.5 megawatts of solar panels.

Solar Tubes Startup Solyndra Signs $250M Sale

Now that solar startup Solyndra has come out into the sun, we’re slowly getting more details on the company’s technology and business. Today Solyndra announced that it has signed a sales deal with German solar integrator GeckoLogic GmbH valued at $250 million. This deal is part of the $1.2 billion in contracts Solyndra unveiled in its coming out announcement. The other two customers include Phoenix Solar, another German solar integrator, and Solar Power Inc., a U.S.-based solar manufacturer and integrator. Final delivery to GeckoLogic will happen by 2012.

The company says it’s already delivering product and is focused in the short-term of ramping up production. Solyndra currently operates a fabrication line at its headquarters in Fremont, Calif., and has a new manufacturing facility planned in nearby Milpitas. That site is currently undergoing environmental review. The 300,000-square-foot Fremont facility has a production capacity of 110 megawatts and, when completed, the Milpitas plant will add 420 megawatts of capacity. Check out this video to see Solyndra’s automated fabrication.
Solyndra’s special sauce is in its unique panel design. A photovoltaic copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) compound is wrapped around a series of tubes until they resemble a row of black, fluorescent lights. Each module is curved to catch the maximum amount of light from any direction, so the panels don’t need to be carefully angled and laboriously secured like traditional PV panels. The company just came out of stealth two weeks ago but was founded three years ago. Solyndra says it has already raised more than $600 million from investors like Redpoint Ventures, RockPort Capital, Argonaut, CMEA Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, the Walton family fund, Madrone Capital, Abu Dubai’s MASDAR and Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund.