Fremont, California-based Solyndra
is a secretive solar company. As secretive as you can be when you have 400+ employees
, are looking for a valuation of greater than a billon dollars
, and occupy a 183,000 square foot building on the side of a major highway
. (I’ve verified those valuation claims from a number of Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists who passed on the funding deal.)
But today we get two big Solyndra contract announcements from:
, an OTC-traded, Shenzen-based module manufacturer and “vertically integrated, turnkey solar power solutions provider,??? with an agreement to purchase approximately $325M worth of Solyndra solar panels over the next five years.
As well as a supply agreement with Phoenix Solar
, a Germany-based solar integrator, worth approximately $700 million. They claim that Solyndra’s solar panels are “highly innovative and distinguish themselves significantly from conventional solar modules.???
I’ve tried to contact the firm a number of times but they’ve been less than communicative. We’ll keep trying. I have spoken to some former Solyndra employees. In fact, oddly for a start-up with a brilliant trajectory, they’ve had a number of senior executive shake-ups. The first
was an “exodus??? of their CTO, CFO, and President and the next was a loss of the senior staff that replaced the original team.
One of their original technologists, in fact the gentleman who has some of the core CIGS IP, is polite but says they have very little chance of scaling to volume at the right cost due to enormous packaging and encapsulation challenges. However, there has been some progress in CIGS solar packaging
materials of late.
According to Martin Roscheisen, the CEO of Nanosolar, in a comment
he posted to one of my blogs, “If anything, CIGS is easier to package than CdTe: Because unlike with CdTe, at least the thin-film device stack is fundamentally stable with CIGS. (The CdTe thin-film stack is not intrinsically stable; its backelectrode is known to be instable.) So the packaging solutions that work for CIGS are a superset of what works for CdTe.???
We’ll get you some more info on these contracts and Solyndra in the coming weeks.
BTW, Solyndra is hiring
But, some CIGS execs say they are seeing an increased flow of Solyndra resumes too. The same thing happened in 2007 before Miasole announced it was having problems. But this was before these two big contracts.