Here's some big feedback from reader "electricaldisobedience" regarding SoloPower's $197 million loan guarantee for flexible solar modules and the firm's premium pricing.


Can we all say "Train Wreck."

It's brutally apparent to just about everyone in the solar industry that SoloPower is another Solyndra.  Thin money on installations...ridiculously overpriced factory...

Anti-loan guarantee zealots are sharpening their knives just waiting for that "I told you so" moment.  And all the remaining real companies in the solar industry will spend the better part of the following year explaining why solar is still a worthy investment.

It is all so obvious.

So a few specific questions for ECD Fan (if he's still alive), Dan the fan Arguelles or anyone really in the know from SoloPower:
1. What are your objective, documented installation costs -- not marketing hype?  In our experience installing "peel and stick" laminates were by far the most expensive projects we ever did (new metal roof, sand, clean with detergent, clean with solvent, hurry to attach adhesive and hope the laminates are straight, roll to remove bubbles, pray the electrical attachment doesn't break...).
2. How do you remove a bad laminate once it is glued down?  Before you answer, try it sometime.
3. How long does your flexible laminate last when it is in a puddle -- a frequent condition here on the east coast?
4. How do you maintain the integrity of your electrical connections when they are literally under water?
5. Low light performance? BFD, those are low energy conditions anyway.  ECD hype.
6. Direct attachment to a hot roof means that there is no ventilation, unlike conventional modules in which air circulates underneath.
7. Almost all roofs can support the extra 3 psf for a solar array.  Marginal rooftops are a small market segment with inherent structural problems.
8. Build it into the roof membrane like SIT?  Still way more expensive than an ordinary membrane and ordinary, reliable crystalline modules.

We should all be aware of these issues with SoloPower NOW so that we as an industry can prepare for the inevitable blowback when they crater into the earth -- hopefully not as spectacularly as Solyndra.