Giga Solar, a 2011-startup based in Portola Valley, Calif., has a pretty simple value proposition: they design and build highly efficient ultra-light-weight mono-crystal solar modules. Mobile Solar is currently evaluating these modules for use in our MS, LT and PK model lines. We spoke with Chief Business Development Officer Sicco Westra.
Mr. Westra explained their primary customers are in the portable or transportable market, “where people want to have solar panels that they move around very frequently, have the ability to pick up and move it. Think about disaster relief applications, and temporary power situations. The military is evaluating these units for expeditionary missions.”
“I think the biggest benefit is the fact that they weigh only 35% of a standard panel, they are a lot easier to handle, they are safer, you can stick more of the panels in a box, because they don’t have a frame,” Westra said. The ability to pack a lot of power in a small, light-weight package is intriguing to us, from a mobile perspective, but Giga Solar’s biggest market will probably be the roof-top residential industry.
Why does light-weight matter for standard grid-connected systems? “It makes the handling of these panels a lot easier and safer than your standard aluminum-framed glass modules,” he explained, noting they are awaiting IEC Certification, but exploring the roof-top market.
“A lot of roofers like the light weight aspect of our panels; it makes the handling of them on a sloped roof a lot safer. When you have a panel that is only 16 pounds, it makes the whole installation a lot safer than a 40-45 pound panel. Light weight in and of itself you can say ‘so what,’ but there is a real safety benefit.
Here at Mobile Solar, we just think they’re cool, and provide another example of how quickly the PV industry is changing. You can learn more at: http://www.gigasolarpv.com/