With the US solar market expected to double in 2011, Q-Cells will offer its CIGS thin-film module series, dubbed Q.Smart, in North America. The company officially entered the US market a year ago as part of a new business strategy to broaden its geographical market base and further build out its project development portfolio under the Q-Cells International banner.

“The release of our innovative Q.Smart technology in North America aligns with Q-Cells’ corporate vision to bring best-of-world solar technology and partnerships to local markets,” said Marc van Gerven, managing director of Q-Cells North America. “We are executing against our strategic roadmap. Since entering North America one year ago, Q-Cells introduced first its utility-scale solar business, then rolled out its PV systems business, and began module sales with the availability of Q.Smart.”

However, Q-Cells are not alone in bringing CIGS technology to the US market. Solyndra, MiaSole, Global Solar, Stion and Nanosolar are among those manufacturing CIGS-based cells and/or modules in the US, while Japan-based Solar Frontier is also shipping product there.

The Q.Smart modules feature record-setting aperture efficiencies of up to 14.7% and average total-area efficiencies of 13% on panels coming off the company's 135MW production lines in Germany. The PV devices also come with Q-Cells' recently introduced ‘Yield Security’ seal of quality.

The CIGS modules also have a "power appreciation warranty" of 25 years – a 100% performance guaranty for the first three years. The company also guarantees a linear degradation of not more than 0.7% per year after the first three years.