Solyndra glass tubes used as art exhibit

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The solar panel maker Solyndra filed for bankruptcy last year after receiving a $535 million dollar loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The company laid off all its employees and left behind 24 million glass tubes used to make solar panels, according to PJ Media.

The glass tubes are now being used as artwork at U.C. Berkeley, in an exhibit called “Natural Discourse.”

The artwork is titled the SOL Grotto and was built by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, two architects.

“The tubes were recovered from Solyndra,” according to the U.C. Berkeley Botanical Garden’s website. “The solar panels developed by the company were claimed to be unlike any other product ever tried in the industry.”

“On September 1, 2011, the company ceased all business activity, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and laid off all employees leaving behind 24 million glass tubes in San Jose, California destined to be destroyed,” the description continues.

Solyndra’s unique solar panels that were made up of racks of glass tubes were supposed to be on the cutting edge, but the company’s design was expensive and they couldn’t compete with cheaper solar panels that had been flooding the market.

“Inside is an array of nearly 1,400 glass tubes that transmit light into the cool, dark space,” according to the U.C. Berkeley Botanical Garden’s website. “The glass tubes are illuminated naturally to an electric-blue color from the ambient light and change throughout the day.”

However, the art exhibit only has a small amount of the 24 million tubes that were to be destroyed.

According to CBS 5 San Francisco, Solyndra set about destroying millions of dollars worth of the glass tubes.

Heritage Global Partners, the company in charge of selling Solyndra’s assets, said they could not find any buyers for the glass tubes.

They paid $2 million for the specialized glass, but still owed the German company that made them $8 million.

The Berkeley art exhibit may not be the only use for Solyndra products, as one man wants to make the glass tubes into vases.

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