A California based company Solyndra Inc. has been awarded with the Renewable-energy Loan Guarantee from the Department of Energy. The company argues that the PV system is superior in terms of installation, higher efficiency, and safer operation. The cylindrical shape of the cell can capture more light (direct, diffused, reflected). Therefore, the cell does not have to be mounted on an angle. This eliminates the expensive structural supports and installation costs. In addition, no angle on the mount means more panels on a roof and more electricity.
All these improvements are impressive. However, in the bigger picture of making this society renewable-energy driven, are these improvements enough to make a major impact and receive a $535 million loan guarantee from the government? Known disadvantages are a high payback time and large land size required for installation (if not on rooftops). These issues are not necessarily addressed. Most of all, low efficiency even with the help of new cylindrical PV cells might not be significant enough to overcome the efficiency deficit with power plants.
 Solyndra Inc.
 Energy Department Issues First Renewable-Energy Loan Guarantee
 Energy, Technology & Policy class - Lecture 8: Renewable Power