Not to be outdone by SolFocus, previous post, Clean Edge reports that Practical Instruments, previous post, a provider of high-performance concentrating photovoltaic panels (CPV), announced it has closed a $8 million Series A funding round. The investment will fund the production of Practical Instruments' flagship product, Heliotube(TM), for the solar integrator, installer, and project developer channels. Practical Instruments' technology dramatically reduces installation time, materials, and costs, while using 88 percent less photovoltaic material.
Practical, which grew out of Cal Tech, has designed the Heliotube, a tube that contains solar panels. The tube rotates with the sun, so that the panels can generate more electricity. Their self contained single axis tracking system is auto-aligning and is self-powered by a single motor using electricity generated by the panel.
They have a geometric concentration ratio of about 10:1 which, gives them an effective concentration ratio of about 8.5:1, after losses. Because of their low concentration ratio they can use conventional SunPower solar cells with above 20% efficiency and passive cooling, rather than the more expensive aerospace Spectrolab cells.
As reported in the previous post CEO Brad Hines said "We're going after the rooftop market, and believe we can hit the goal of 3 dollars a watt with the rebate in California, and stay below that even after rebates go away. It's cheaper than electricity you buy from the power company."