Solyndra Signs PPA with SCE

The cylindrical CIGS thin-film manufacturer Solyndra just signed a power purchase agreement with the utility Southern California Edison for 16-MW of projects.

Solyndra’s tubular modules are supposed to be better for large, flat rooftops because they are capture sunlight from different angles, and are less heavy than traditional modules.

The company has come under fire in recent months for having manufacturing costs of about $4 per watt. That is far below thin-film leader First Solar, which is manufacturing Cadmium Telluride panels for below a dollar per watt. Solyndra recently had to pull back from an IPO because of investor worries about its cost structure. Earlier this week, Solyndra replaced its CEO.

Many analysts have been criticising the U.S. government for handing out a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra earlier this spring, saying that it was not money well spent.

The company hopes that an increase in manufacturing capacity and continued deployment of its proprietary modules will help lower costs quickly. Solyndra’s subsidiary, Photon Solar, will complete construction of the 16.2 MW of systems in 2011.