Fire shuts down Abound Solar line; no injuries reported, production ramp resumes

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

A small electrical fire in a piece of production equipment shut down the Abound Solar thin-film photovoltaic module manufacturing line in Longmont, CO, on New Year’s Day. No one was injured from the resulting smoke, no other tools were damaged, and operations resumed the following day, according to company sources.

Calling the early morning fire a “relatively minor incident” and a “low probability event,” Abound’s Mark Chen told PV-Tech that production was stopped for safety reasons, adding that the facility was evacuated once the fire department was called.

The news site reports that 11 employees and four firefighters went to a local hospital as a precaution, but all were released within a half-hour or so. Chen (who is Abound’s director of marketing) added that there were no health issues or injuries with any workers.

The company has been running around the clock as it ramps its first 65MW cadmium-telluride thin-film module line. Chen said the mishap resulted in the line being down for a day or so, and that modules “had been moving through since Saturday (Jan. 2),” with “inventory at different stages of production” and “workarounds” in effect.

He could not confirm if the inline manufacturing system had returned to continuous end-to-end processing yet.

Chen said the tool where the fire started was not one of Abound’s proprietary semiconductor deposition chambers, but a piece of equipment purchased from a third-party company.

Although he would not specify exactly which tool was involved in the incident or the name of the vendor, the company spokesman did say that Abound is working with the supplier (who now has a team on site, with the proper documentation) and is helping with its failure/root-cause analysis studies, and that the damaged machinery has been replaced and a backup tool is being ramped up.

Chen would not offer a precise timeline of when Abound expects to reach full capacity on its first line, but he did say the company had been making “good progress” before the accident and that the “capacity continues to grow” toward the nameplate target figure. 

“All the equipment is in, all the chambers are in” for running at full capacity, he explained, and are “being qualified as we speak.”

Once the first line is fully ramped, a second line will be added later this year, according to Chen, with a third line—which would bring the facility up to its projected 200MW—beginning to ramp by late 2010 or early 2011.

28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.
20 October 2021
Utility-scale solar is evolving, shaped by higher power modules and demand for increasingly lower levelised cost of electricity (LCOE). Those trends are also changing project requirements elsewhere, with inverters capable of delivering high power density and power capacity in strong demand. In this webinar, FIMER will detail how its innovative high-power, multi-MPPT string inverter and modular conversion solution can both meet those demands and transform the utility-scale solar sector for the better.

Read Next

September 24, 2021
Independent power producer Catalyze has acquired commercial and industrial (C&I) solar developer Sol Alliance, expanding its presence in the northeast of the US and taking on an 80MW project development pipeline in the process.
September 24, 2021
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a US$15 billion package to fund programmes to tackle drought and climate change in the state
PV Tech Premium
September 24, 2021
Concerns have been raised that new measures introduced by Spain’s government to limit windfall profits of renewable energy plants could dent investor confidence and impact the stability of the country’s solar sector.
September 24, 2021
DNV-owned solar monitoring firm GreenPowerMonitor is to integrate Alteso’s solar analytics tech platform into its offering after striking a deal to acquire it.
September 23, 2021
A project that bids to combine up to 20GW of solar PV with the world’s largest energy storage battery and a 4,200km-long subsea power cable has moved a step forward after Indonesian authorities greenlit its proposed transmission cable route.
September 23, 2021
US national residential and C&I solar plant performance assessment company Omnidian has completed a US$33 million Series B raise.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021