Solyndra is receiving a warm reception for its unusually designedsolar panels in Europe. The Fremont, Calif.-based startup said Thursdayit has signed a contract with Germany-based Ebitsch Energietechnik that’s worth up to $115 million.
The latest deal brings Solyndra’s backlog to about $1.8 billion. Thecompany doesn’t divulge what those contracts amount to in megawatts.Ebitsch designs and installs solar energy systems.
Solyndra, founded in 2005, said the contract would last through 2013, but didn’t give a starting date. In other recently announced contracts, the company also didn’t specify when it would have to start delivering the goods.
The startup has been mum about its production rate. Last October,Solyndra’s CEO Chris Gronet said the company was ramping upmanufacturing at its 110-megawatt factory. The company also is waitingfor a final approval from the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain a loan guarantee of $535 million to build a factory that could roll out 500 megawatts of panels per year.
Getting that loan would be critical for Solyndra to fulfill itsgrowing number of contracts. The company has said it hopes to startfactory construction by the end of the year. It’s been looking atbuilding the factory on the same street as its headquarters.
The number of deals Solyndra has inked showed a strong interest for its unusually looking panels, which are made up of solar cells that are lined in tubes.Each panel has 40 tubes placed side by side. The company said thedesign could boost electricity production because it enables the cellsto capture not just direct sunlight but also reflected light fromdifferent directions.
The contracts also indicate that there is market demand for solarpanels made with copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) cells, a newtechnology that is largely in the pre-commercial stages. Many otherstartups are developing CIGS cells, including Miasole, HelioVolts andNanosolar. But Solyndra has shown more success at lining up customersthat most.