It has been just over a year since Skyline Solar unveiled its low-cost, high-efficiency High Gain Solar Arrays (HGS). And today, just a month after being fast-tracked through U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) green-tech patent application process, Skyline announced its latest high-profile project: an 80 kilowatt solar plant that will power 85% of Nipton, California. That’s the highest percentage of solar electricity used in any town in the U.S.
There’s just one catch: Nipton only has a population of 20 people. Visitors often pass through the tiny town on the way to Joshua Tree National Park or Mojave National Reserve, so the solar news isn’t inconsequential. Energy independence has to start somewhere, so why not a sleepy town in the Mojave Desert?
The Nipton plant marks Skyline’s first commercial installation of its HGS 1000 system. But Skyline has big plans for the future–the startup recently enlisted Cosma, an auto parts manufacturer, to supply sheet metal for solar reflectors. The partnership will, Skyline hopes, allow the company to quickly ramp up commercial production of its systems.
Skyline’s HGS arrays can reportedly generate 10 times more energy per gram of silicon compared to flat solar panels, thanks to specially designed reflector arrays that concentrate light. They also use half the amount of parts compared to similar systems.