Morgan Solar Inc. recently gained approval for a second U.S. patent for its Sun Simba concentrating solar module technology and is rapidly completing trials and preparing to commercialize the products.
Toronto-based Morgan Solar, which was founded in 2007, has raised more than US$38.5 million in funding so far to develop its product line. The company has received money from the U.S. and Canadian governments as well as from private sources.
Nypro Inc. of Clinton, Mass., is a strategic investor and is manufacturing Morgan Solar's components.
“We are in the process of ramping up manufacturing facilities. The mold tools are made and tested and we are in the process of transferring them to Nypro in Chula Vista, [Calif.],” said Nicolas Morgan, vice president of business development for Morgan Solar, in a telephone interview.
The prototypes were developed in Toronto and Morgan Solar has been testing them at its 12,000-square-foot facility, according to Morgan.
The firm will assemble the final product in Toronto, but is gearing up additional injection molding capability at Nypro's Chula Vista plant.
In September, Morgan Solar announced that it had developed a patent-pending Savanna tracker, a lightweight, self-ballasted sun-tracking system optimized for the company's CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) module. The tracker saves costs in that it can be installed with simple hand tools — and without concrete, cranes or other heavy machinery.
The latest patent is a continuation of a patent for a light-guide solar panel and the method of fabrication. Both claim priority from May 1, 2007.
The company said the patent solidifies Morgan Solar's corporate position as the first-to-file for patents covering the theory behind a totally internal, reflection-based, light-guide concentrator with a slab-focusing optic, and the fabrication of solar optics and modules based on the technology.
The system traps light inside a dielectric or other transparent panel and propagates the light for harvesting by a solar energy collector, such as a photovoltaic cell. This allows for very thin modules whose thickness is comparable to the height of the solar energy collector and eliminates depth requirements of traditional concentrated photovoltaic solar energy systems.
Morgan Solar has 17 other pending independent patent applications and corresponding international patent applications.
Morgan said the company is developing pilot programs with the new technology. A 140-kilowatt project is expected to be up and running soon in Lancaster, Calif. A second 100-kW project is also planned in Ontario.
The firm is in its second phase of funding and has raised about $19 million of the $25 million goal that it hopes to reach in the next few months, Morgan said. Some of the money will help customers pre-fund a project.
Morgan Solar recently added four people to its staff, which numbers 37. The firm is focusing on turnkey solar projects and has five other patent-pending products in the pipeline.