Boeing’s Solar Subsidiary Wins Australian Contract
Boeing recently announced a “multi-million dollar contract” with its wholly owned subsidiary Spectrolab, Inc. of Sylmar, CA to supply 500,000 concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cell assemblies to Solar Systems Pty. Ltd. of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. The high-efficiency solar cell assemblies will be used at power stations that generate renewable energy for small, remote Australian communities. The assemblies will be capable of generating 11 MW of power, with efficiencies averaging about 35%.
Solar concentrators resemble a satellite dish with curved reflecting mirrors shaped to concentrate sunlight onto the solar cells, which are higher-cost and higher-production multi-junction cells instead of thin-film or silicon designs. A sun-tracking mechanism allows electricity to be produced from morning to late afternoon, usually followed by switches to diesel generation at night. “We expect this to be the first commercial phase of a very large and valuable relationship,” said Solar Systems Managing Director Dave Holland. That may well be so. Especially if front-line requests from Iraq and Afghanistan prove to be a trend, and Boeing/Spectrolab can roll out a derivative solution that competes successfully with front-runner Skybuilt Power.