Solar Frontier ramping 150W CIS modules as customer engagements go global

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CIS thin-film module manufacturer Solar Frontier has started shipping 150W modules with 12.2% conversion efficiencies after accelerating its production roadmap and achieving production targets ahead of schedule at its Kunitomi plant in Japan. Based on ‘keen’ interest in its low-cost, high-yield technology, which benefits from the ‘light soaking effect', unique to CIS technology, Solar Frontier said shipments were going to customers on a global basis, though quantity figures were not released.

Solar Frontier also noted that it expects both TÜV and UL certification in the coming weeks for a 155W module. The performance improvements are said to come from continuous manufacturing improvements as the state-of-the-art Kunitomi plant ramps successfully.

“Ongoing enhancements at our Kunitomi plant have enabled us to surpass production targets ahead of time,” said Hiroshi Yoshida, vice president of manufacturing at Solar Frontier. “A significant proportion of our production output is now over 150W. We constantly advance our production process and expect continuing improvements in module performance to ensure we always provide our customers with the most competitive products.”

“We have seen keen interest from customers around the world in our 150W offering, which combines higher power output with long-term durability and a high aesthetic grade,” said Atsuhiko Hirano, Solar Frontier’s senior vice president of marketing and power generation projects. “Customers can rely on us to further enhance our product lineup to meet their needs in the utility, commercial and residential market segments.”

Solar Frontier officially opened the Kunitomi plant in Miyazaki, Japan in April 2011, which was extensively covered by PV-Tech, after a factory visit. This is the third but most advanced facility owned and operated by Solar Frontier, which claims to have an annual capacity of approximately 1GW.

“In the long term, fundamental energy economics point to the rise of thin-film, led by CIS,” said Shigeaki Kameda, CEO of Solar Frontier. “It simply requires far less energy to produce a thin-film module per watt of capacity, and the amount of energy you require to produce anything is a key arbiter of your economic viability. With CIS extending its efficiency lead among thin-film technologies at 150W and climbing, we have confirmed the commitment we made to this technology almost twenty years ago.”



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