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Sol Ideas Technology Development is
using Solyndra's bankruptcy and the media coverage surrounding
it as a "teachable moment" for the Solar
Energy industry. What is a failure for one photovoltaic
(PV) company can be turned into an opportunity to learn more
about its context in the bigger picture. Here are the main
points to consider:
- Download the 2.9 MB PDF file of
OSA presentation that describes our study of the science
behind Solyndra's approach (requires Adobe Acrobat reader
- See Note). It would facilitate
public support for solar energy if more people understood
how this approach (be it better or worse) differed from
conventional, or flat-plate, PV.
- We've used the PV modules as a
teaching tool in undergraduate studies. This was presented
on March 5, 2013 at the Interdisciplinary
Engineering Design Education Conference (IEDEC). Download
the 627K PDF
paper or the 2.8 MB PDF
presentation (requires Adobe Acrobat reader - See Note).
services are available in the field of solar photovoltaics.
Dr. Smestad has a unique perspective on DOE's solar energy-related
programs, since he has served for several years as a peer
reviewer for grant applications, as mentioned in this letter
from the Secretary of Energy (pdf file - See Note).
He provided due diligence input for a variety of solar energy
projects, but was not involved in reviewing the Solyndra
items are available to those who are seriously interested.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND:
Greg P. Smestad with 3 connected
Solyndra PV panels/modules
Photo: Sol Ideas
Dr. Smestad first noticed something
odd about the glass tubes at Solyndra long before the
media did. He wrote this up in an article
for Greentech Media. This led to his interview on
5 (KPIX San Francisco). PJ
Media ran a story on an art exhibit at the UC
Berkeley Botanical Garden that used nearly 1,400
tubes formerly at Solyndra.
Greg Smestad, Ph.D. attended all the Solyndra auctions
and purchased equipment for Sol Ideas and for Santa
Clara University. This video
about the University shows the solar panel that
Dr. Smestad purchased, around 1 minute 30 seconds into
the video. Intrigued with Solyndra's
science, technology and Intellectual Property (IP),
he purchased the Solyndra panels to validate a previously
developed theoretical model relevant to its optics and
The working PV tubes and the glass tubes can be used
in creative ways. For example, Dr. Smestad has re-purposed
the glass tubes into vases. For interior design ideas
on how to use them, please refer to our photo
album. The bottom of the tube is plugged with a
used cork from a wine bottle. When the tube is filled
with water and a Lucky Bamboo stem (or other plant stem
that has a similar diameter) is put in place, evaporation
is minimized resulting in a long-lasting and eco-friendly
display. The living Lucky
Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) grows hydroponically,
and its cylindrical geometry is similar to that of the
Solyndra PV module. Coming out of the tube, it represents
concerns regarding the rise of China's solar industry
"growing" out of the bankruptcies
of solar companies in the West. Some of the millions
of leftover glass tubes have been melted down to glaze
tiles. Can you think more useful applications that
wouldn't require much additional transportation or energy?
Could you actually carry out such a project, or have
you used Solyndra's glass tubes for other purposes?
Let us know by sending an email message email@example.com.
to see Solyndra Study
Comparing a small, flat CIGS PV module to a PV tube
Photo: Greg P. Smestad
Note: To read PDF files you will need
the Adobe Acrobat reader, which can be downloaded free from
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