Skyline shows off unique concentrating solar arrays

Skyline Solar, maker of uniquely-shaped concentrating photovoltaic panels, has unveiled its first demo system in San Jose, Calif. The company struck a deal with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to generate more than 30 kilowatts of power.

The architecture of Skyline’s installations sets it apart from other solar equipment makers like Ausra, Heliovolt and Optisolar. Shaped like a W, each long row of panels uses inexpensive reflective material to bounce more sunlight directly onto solar cells positioned on the sides of each panel at opportune angles. The systems also track the sun as it moves, eliminating the need for more silicon solar cells — cutting the cost of utility-scale deployments. The company says its technology actually requires 85 percent less pricey silicon and 66 percent fewer parts than traditional tracking panels.

Based in Mountain View, Calif., the company raised $24.6 million in a first round of funding that closed eight months ago. New Enterprise Associates led the financing, which also included several other solar suppliers and installation companies. Skyline also nabbed a $3 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Solar America Initiative.