By Ucilia Wang
San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower sued San Rafael, Calif.-based SunLink in February 2008, alleging that SunLink had infringed on SunPower's patents for PowerGuard. PowerGuard is a line of lightweight solar panels that could be laid down directly on the rooftop. No racks are needed.
SunPower also alleged that SunLink infringed on its patents for T10 Solar Roof Tile. This line of solar panels is mounted on a 10-degree angle.
SunLink, a private company backed by investors including Clean Pacific Ventures and Angeleno Group, is in the business of designing mounting systems. It specializes in engineering racks for flat rooftops, according to the company's website.
"SunLink has acknowledged the infringement of SunLink's MMS rooftop solar product as well as the validity and enforceability of SunPower's patent rights," SunPower said in a statement.
The terms of the settlement are confidential, SunPower said.
Mounting system designs could make a big difference in the amount of time and money spent on installing a solar energy system. Fremont, Calif.-based Solyndra, for example, said its mounting system could cut labor and installation time by one-third.