Tom Cheyney, former senior editor of PV-Tech and Photovoltaics International, is now chief curator of SolarCurator.com and director of Impress Labs’ solar practice.
What may be the largest copper indium gallium (di)selenide--based
photovoltaic-module field in the US will be sending electricity within
a few months to the manufacturing plant of the company that made the
flexible CIGS "stringer" cells powering the array.
told me at Intersolar North America in San Francisco last week that the
several acres of desert scrub designated for the field, located across
the parking lot from the company's South Tucson factory, have been
"plowed, fenced, and racked" over the past six weeks. He said the
panels have been fabricated and stacks of them are sitting, ready to be
shipped, at Solon America's module-making facility a few miles down the
road from Global.
The CIGS "modules are going on in August," noted Teich, "and the
power will be turned on by November," although the switch could be
flipped as soon as September, especially if an inverter they're waiting
on shows up soon.
"It will be interesting to see the output of the field," he
continued, which will be specified at 750 KW DC/1.1 MW AC and is
expected to supply up to 25% of the Global fab's power needs. It will
take a few weeks for the field to initially stabilize after it's
"The light soak of CIGS happens in the first day," explained Teich.
"Peak power is reached in about four weeks, and then it stabilizes
after that." But he added that the precise period of stabilization and
other system performance stats are still "speculation," since there
have not been (m)any CIGS fields of this size, certainly not in the US.
The company will have a dashboard monitor running on a TV screen in
its lobby, which will show a live feed of some of the installation's
operational parameters--and provide a nice morale booster to the
employees, no doubt. "By the end of the year, we will have good data
[from the solar field]... and Tucson is a good place to test it,"
according to Teich, given the area's extremes of heat and cold, dry
weather and monsoonal moisture, and the like.
For more reporting on Global Solar from Intersolar (customer
orders, factory ramp status, latest conversion efficiencies, progress
on barrier/encapsulation materials, the company's strategy for
building-integrated PV--what Teich calls "energized building solutions,
etc.), check out my colleagues' stories at Greentech Media
and Solid State Technology