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17 October 2008


Global Solar’s CIGS PV module earns IEC certification

Global Solar Energy Inc of Tucson, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) cells for both glass modules and flexible substrates, has been awarded the International Electrochemical Commission's IEC 61646 certification for its solar modules.

Delivered by the Arizona State University Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (ASU-PTL), the certification confirms that Global Solar’s modules adhere to the IEC's stringent requirements for functional and mechanical capabilities for long-term operation and open-air environments.

The IEC sets international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. IEC 61646 ‘Thin-film terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules - Design qualification and type approval’ is a test standard used worldwide by the solar industry to verify that new solar modules and the encapsulation materials and manufacturers of solar modules meet a minimum set of functional and mechanical requirements to prove confidence for claim of long-term (+20 year) modules performance integrity.

“The IEC module certification process is a series of rigorous tests that simulate what can happen over time to an installed module,” says Global Solar’s chief technology officer, Dr Jeff Britt. “The company’s CIGS solar modules have been subjected to the IEC battery of tests and passed the first time,” he adds. “At our request, the ASU-PTL subjected Global Solar’s CIGS modules to these tests, which are designed to emulate the real lifetime environment of a solar module.”

Global Solar Energy currently produces PowerFlex Solar Strings, which provide a pre-connected format to its CIGS cells that make it easy for product designers and module manufactures to quickly and easily benefit from the low-cost, highly efficient and flexible nature of CIGS. The firm’s CIGS cells are produced on a bendable substrate, providing manufacturers with flexible solar material that is adaptable in shape and size, opening the door for new and innovative designs in the growing building integration markets. Global Solar claims to be the only firm the only CIGS manufacturer in full-scale production on a flexible substrate. “This certification of our solar product is a huge win for the CIGS industry,” says CEO Mike Gering.

Global Solar was giving product demonstrations at this week’s Solar Power International 2008 in San Diego, CA, USA. Also at the event, Britt participated in the panel session ‘The Great Thin Film Debate: Winning the Hearts and Minds of System Installers and Investors’, along with fellow panelists including Harin Ullal of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Sharp’s Paul Wormser; Paula Mints of Navigant Consulting Inc; and Winfried Hoffmann of Applied Materials GmbH & Co KG in Germany.

See related item:

GSE launches thin-film CIGS alternative for silicon module and BIPV manufacturing