Concentrated Sunlight For 10X Energy Gains
Skyline Solar manufactures High Gain Solar (HGS) arrays which incorporate industry-proven silicon cells, durable reflector materials and single-axis tracking into a complete, easy-to-deploy system. Skyline HGS delivers ten times more energy per gram of silicon than traditional flat panel systems in sunny locations.
Skyline was founded in 2007 and is led by veterans of the solar energy and high volume manufacturing industries. The company is funded by NEA, and strategic investors. Skyline has also received funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to accelerate production. Skyline went from prototype to first grid connected customer in less than one year and is now engaging partners and end customers for production systems starting in late 2009.
Skyline achieves 10X the energy out of a gram of silicon through tracking and concentration. Tracking provides 30% gain and concentration does the rest relative to fixed tilt silicon PV. Concentration is enabled by the use of reflective materials to replace most of the silicon cells and a novel convection cooling system on the back each HGS panel.
Skyline Solar’s design uses bent sheet metal to reflect the sun’s rays onto a silicon collector, which solves two main barriers to solar energy–cost and scalability. Using the monocrystalline silicon cells and tracking technology to increase the amount of energy captured, the amount of silicon required is reduced by 90 percent. This design cuts costs further by using globally available manufacturing facilities, like automotive factories, to produce the racks and mounting systems.
Each HGS array consists of two main components: a Reflective Rack with integrated tracking, and four rows of High Gain Solar Panels along its edges. HGS Arrays are mechanically coupled together into long columns with adjacent units sharing mounting and tracking hardware. Multiple columns are installed side by side to create large solar fields. HGS arrays are manufactured using industry-standard materials proven through years of field experience.
HGS Panels are similar to—but much smaller than—traditional silicon panels. Panels are oriented vertically along the edges of the Reflective Rack and contain a metal heat sink which enables efficient convection cooling with natural airflow. This allows cells to operate at lower temperatures for greater efficiency. HGS panels include a quick-connect feature for rapid installation onto the Reflective Racks and easy maintenance.
The Reflective Rack provides structural support for the overall array. It also collects light from a large aperture and concentrates it onto the HGS Panels. The rack’s highly reflective top surface is covered with a thin durable metallic coating encased in oxide layers that ensures high durability. This top surface combined with a set of prefabricated struts and ribs underneath forms a long stiff and lightweight space frame similar to structures used in the automotive and aircraft industries.
Skyline is working with developers and installers of grid-connected utility, industrial and commercial systems. Target end customers include commercial, industrial, education, government and utility customers in sunny climates. Ideal locations include California, the US Southwest, Southern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia.
Skyline’s HGS architecture is ideally suited for systems ranging from 50-100 kilowatts up through many megawatts. There’s no fundamental limit on how large the plants can be.
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