Frequently Asked Questions

Why is solar energy the best solution for future global power

It’s infinite – when the sun stops working we’ve got bigger problems than electricity. It’s highly distributed – even more so than other renewables like hydro and wind. It’s environmentally benign no pipes, drilling or mines. It doesn’t pollute the air or water, nor increase CO2 – unlike all fossil fuel sources. It relies on silicon metal – the 2nd most abundant chemical on earth. It is highly scalable from a single user to millions – unlike any other electricity generating technology today.

At what stage is Giga Solar as a company?

Giga Solar is an early stage company. We are supplying a number of specialty markets with modules that do not require full IEC/UL certification. These applications include: military, disaster relief, video surveillance, and various off-grid equipment. We are currently seeking strategic partners in the solar industry who share our vision of a lightweight future and who can provide the resources required to bring a new technology like ours to the market.   

Can I order products from Giga Solar now? If so, how? What are the prices?

Yes, you can order products from Giga Solar right now. We do not stock any finished products and all modules are built to order. If you are interested in ordering modules, you can contact us by email (info@gigasolarpv.com ) or by phone (650-279-1345) to discuss your specific needs. Your particular request will be evaluated and responded to in five (5) working days, at which time we will notify you of an expected delivery date and price.

What makes Giga Solar’s PV modules unique?

Giga Solar’s PV modules do not use glass as a cover plate or have a frame (aluminum or otherwise) and yet the module is rigid and uses traditional crystalline silicon solar cells.

Why is your design important to me?

Through replacement of the glass and aluminum frame Giga Solar has removed as much as 85% of the weight from the typical PV module, while maintaining the high power output provided by crystalline silicon solar cells. Weight may or may not be important to you, depending on your application. Ultimately, we believe that by removing weight from the module we can reduce total systems costs through the use of re-engineered components and faster installation.

How can Giga Solar’s modules be as durable as glass and aluminum-frame modules which have been proven over the last 20 years?

Unfortunately Giga Solar’s new module design does not have 20-years of outdoor exposure. Solar products are intended to last a long time outside and are routinely subjected to harsh laboratory accelerated-testing to prove their longevity. PV module tests includes: UV radiation, high and low temperature, high humidity, snow loading, hail impact, fire, electrical, and other important tests. New PV module technologies must pass these tests to become acceptable (“certified”) for many markets.

Has Giga Solar’s modules passed the IEC tests and how do its modules compare to traditional glass and aluminum-frame modules?

Giga Solar has spent the last two years performing a number of tests to better understand how different materials perform in these types of harsh environments. Although they are “accelerated” they can still take months to complete.  In the coming months we will perform all of these required tests.  Based on what we’ve learned thus far, we have a high confidence of meeting these requirements. In the meantime there are a number of markets that don’t require either a 20+ year lifetime or official certification of the module. We are currently focused on these markets while we submit modules for formal industry certification.

If your modules are such a good idea, why hasn’t anyone done this before?

The idea of producing a lightweight module is not new. A number of thin film PV companies have over the years developed flexible modules that qualify as “lightweight”. They, however, have not been able to stay competitive with traditional crystalline silicon wafer modules in efficiency or in cost. Thus, many of these companies are no longer in business. The two biggest challenges in de-weighting the module through the use of new materials are in meeting the extensive lifetime and the very low cost expectations.   

How do I mount your modules if it doesn’t have a frame to attach to?

Unlike traditional modules that have a very thin plastic film on the back of the module, Giga Solar’s modules have a strong, rigid composite behind the cells. There are a number of ways to attach the module to a structure. We will soon publish mounting guidelines about how to do this without damaging the product. In the meantime, please be sure to contact Giga Solar Technical Service (info@gigasolarpv.com ) to discuss your application.

How do I electrically connect my module? Can it be connected to other modules?

Giga Solar modules will have a junction box and two connecting leads, one positive and one negative. This will allow you to connect Giga Solar Modules in series (to increase voltage) or parallel (to increase current). You should only connect modules of the same power rating and product number in a series connection, as it is important that their current output (amps) is matched. The maximum number of modules that can be connected in a series string must be calculated in accordance with applicable regulations in such a way that the specified maximum system voltage of the PV module and all other electrical DC components will not be exceeded in open-circuit operation at the lowest temperature expected at the PV system location. If you wish to order Giga Solar modules without a junction box please note this request in your ordering information.

What is your module warranty?

Giga Solar FPC, Inc. provides a Limited Product Warranty with respect to its module products. This warranty states that the module shall be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal application, use and service conditions during the period of three (3) years from the purchase date, subject to the conditions, exclusions and limitations set forth within the policy. The full Warranty policy can be read here. 

What does “FPC” mean in your name?

FPC stands for “Flexible Purpose Corporation”. Under California Law an FPC may pursue social welfare objectives without liability to directors for not maximizing profit; one or more “special purposes” must be specified in the Articles of Incorporation. Giga Solar’s “special purpose” is in “improving the quality of life of all people in the world through accessible, affordable, and environmentally conscious solar products”. Giga Solar is a for-profit corporation, and as such, is responsible like any other California corporation operating under the General Corporation Law, including taxation.