CIGS Photovoltaic Parking Survey – Part 2

MiaSolé and Stion join prior survey subjects Nanosolar, SoloPower, and Solyndra.

Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the holiday season. For logic that escapes me, I decided last Sunday after lunch was perfect for another CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) photovoltaic (PV) parking lot survey. The road tour defined a triangle with vertices in Santa Clara, south San Jose, and Fremont, California USA. The unfair, unscientific, and near trivial survey results nonetheless provide fodder for pure, delicious solar speculation.

In reverse numerical order, here are the survey results ranked only by the automotive hardware present in each company’s respective parking lots.

From CIGS PV Silicon Valley Parking Survey – Part 2

5. SoloPower
There wasn’t a soul to be found at SoloPower, Inc. Perhaps the day was designated to sharpen the saw or maybe year end demand for flexible CIGS solar modules is limited?

From CIGS PV Silicon Valley Parking Survey – Part 2

4. MiaSolé
MiaSolé had a few folks but was not manufacturing at their headquarters site. Was the action at the second manufacturing site or the “new plant planned in the southeastern United States”? And whatever happened to the old sign? I think the team might have earned a day off in celebration of their latest achievement, “NREL verifies MiaSolé’s 15.7% CIGS thin-film module conversion efficiencies” by Mark Osborne at I had a rare appointment near MiaSolé during the week, and operations were again at full tilt.

From CIGS PV Silicon Valley Parking Survey – Part 2

3. Stion
Stion Corporation surprised with a core team no doubt busy scaling production. At least Stion has a small sign visible at the main building entrance.

From CIGS PV Silicon Valley Parking Survey – Part 2

2. Nanosolar
Reconfirming “Nanosolar Reveals Solar Cell Factory Plans (Plus Photos!)” by Katie Fehrenbacher at Earth2Tech, Nanosolar, Inc. continues to be in manufacturing mode. But what is their CIGS solar cell manufacturing run rate (“close to 50 MW”, MegaWatt) and what is the production yield? It took nine (9) months from commencing serial module production until the first 1 MegaWatt Solar Farm was completed.

From CIGS PV Silicon Valley Parking Survey – Part 2

1. Solyndra
While “Fab pragmatism: Solyndra’s shutdown of Fab 1 may be just what the cost doctor ordered” by Tom Cheyney at was the prescription, there was plenty of activity at the Solyndra, Inc. Fab 2, Fab 1, and the California Circle location on this given Sunday. The security guard at Fab 2 took interest in my photography. I guess a new production Fab must be filled so long as module selling prices cover marginal cost? “Energy secretary Chu declares “Sputnik” moment on green race against China” by Iris Kuo at VentureBeat captures comments by Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu regarding Solyndra.

From CIGS PV Silicon Valley Parking Survey – Part 2
From CIGS PV Silicon Valley Parking Survey – Part 2

For the second year in a row, Solyndra wins the CIGS parking survey by car count while Stion grabs the surprise category honorable mention.

I suppose parking lot surveys can be viewed as bottom fishing. Please allow me an occasional indulgence.


  1. Kevin says:

    I go by Solyndra on Sunday ~4pm about once a month. Their parking lot is always at least 1/3 full at that time. When it comes to labor costs, they are certainly getting their money’s worth.

  2. This is not bottom fishing. It’s actually a very good indicator of the operating scale and business plan urgency of each company.

    Cars = staff = burn rate.

    Those truly in the race will be there over Thanksgiving. Knowing the Khosla ‘foot to the floor’ style well, I am not surprised by the Stion result. As for Solyndra, a race for survival?

  3. ECD Fan says:

    Great stuff, as always.

  4. I’m wondering if ECD Fan was in the car with you? He,He,He


  5. Edgar A. Gunther says:

    Ah, please!

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