July 17, 2008

SolFocus Blessing Marks Expansion of Test Site in Hawaii


Contact: Nancy Hartsoch, VP Marketing of SolFocus, +1-650-623- 7134, [email protected]; or Pepi Nieva of Bright Light Marketing, +1-808-275-3012, [email protected], for SolFocus

KAILUA-KONA, July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A Hawaiian-style blessing of a solar array precisely tilted to take full advantage of the sun officially welcomed SolFocus, a Mountain View, California-based solar technology company, to Hawaii. SolFocus introduced its new Concentrator Photovoltaics (CPV) to public officials and guests at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) on the Big Island.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080717/LATH099)

The blessing was presided by Kahu Danny Akaka Jr., and SolFocus CEO Gary D. Conley. During the ceremony, Conley recognized SolFocus partners in the technology project, NELHA, represented by Will Rolston, and the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council, represented by Max Goldberger, who was instrumental in bringing SolFocus to the islands.

In the past year, SolFocus has been collaborating with NELHA to test its CPV systems to assure that the technology is ideally suited to a tropical island environment. Conley also announced plans to expand the test site with a second generation CPV array in the near future.

"With this first array, we want to seed the market with solar energy technology that works," Conley said. "We moved SolFocus from my garage in 2005, and from a two-person operation, we now have 120 employees in six locations. We didn't wait for government subsidies because we felt it was imperative we get to work now. We got here through collaboration and partnerships, like our partnership with NELHA, which provided us with a fantastic combination of geography, climate and people. It's the diversity of people that make us strong."

Goldberger thanked Conley for "making CPV technology a reality in Hawaii." Elizabeth Corbin, acting Energy administrator of the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, spoke on behalf of Governor Linda Lingle, talked about the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims for 70 percent renewable energy by 2030, and noted that the state is installing a number of solar energy projects, including a 12 MW PV system at Kona Airport. Deputy Managing Director Barbara Kossow represented Big Island Mayor Harry Kim at the event.

SolFocus' goal is to make solar electricity more cost competitive with traditional, fossil-fuel power generation. The company's CPV technology uses a system of non-imaging optics to magnify the light from the sun 500 times onto small, highly efficient solar cells. SolFocus CPV systems use 1/1000th of the active, expensive solar cell material compared to traditional photovoltaic panels, thus accelerating the trajectory for solar energy to reach cost parity with traditional energy sources. CPV solar panels are made mostly of readily available and cost-effective materials such as aluminum and glass. These CPV systems deliver zero emissions energy, have the lowest carbon footprint in manufacturing, and are over 95-percent recyclable.

SolFocus integrates its CPV panels with an intelligent tracker that continuously aligns the solar array with direct sun rays throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. SolFocus tracking systems are also being used with traditional PV, as the tracker's high degree of accuracy allows PV systems to produce as much as 40 percent more energy over fixed PV installations.

SolFocus CPV technology was developed in collaboration with research, scientific, and engineering institutions such as the University of California at Merced, Ben Gurion University in Israel, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Polytechnic University of Madrid, and the Palo Alto Research Center.

Headquartered in Mountain View, California, SolFocus has expanded its operations to include SolFocus Europe in Madrid, Spain and SolFocus Glassworks in Mesa, Arizona. This privately held company has raised $96 million in venture funding since its founding in 2005. For more information, please visit http://www.solfocus.com.


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