7 September 2010


SoloPower first to receive UL certification for flexible CIGS module

SoloPower Inc of San Jose, CA, USA, which makes flexible copper indium gallium di-selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, has announced UL certification for its modules, which is claimed to be a first for the industry.

“SoloPower’s advancement demonstrates that California is leading the way in technology innovation for the green economy,” comments Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This is the first UL-certified product in a line of high-power flexible modules being introduced initially to European and North American markets. Their flexibility and high-power rating allows a reduction in balance-of-system and installation costs, while lightweight and application features will facilitate solar installations where they are otherwise impossible, reckons SoloPower.

“The certification of SoloPower's flexible CIGS module is an important step toward the realization of lightweight, high-power, flexible solar modules with potential to expand the roof-top solar market and reduce balance of system costs,” says Dr Rommel Noufi, principal scientist at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “I feel very gratified to see, after a 30-year career in thin-film CIGS PV at NREL, the technology become mature.”

UL certification was granted following testing at an independent laboratory to UL 1703, the standard for safety for PV module manufacturing. In addition, SoloPower has conducted extensive internal testing that well exceeds the safety, quality, and reliability standards established by these tests. In June 2009, the firm was also the first manufacturer to receive UL certification for rigid modules based on flexible CIGS PV cells.

SoloPower’s line of lightweight, flexible PV module products includes multiple form factors: the SFX1 module (80Wp, 0.3m x 2.9m, 2.3kg/5lbs), the SFX2 module (170Wp, 0.3m x 5.8m, 3.6kg/8lbs), and the SFX3 module (260Wp, 0.9m x 2.9m, 6kg/13lbs).

“With low-cost and low-capital expenditure requirements, SoloPower’s core manufacturing process will enable rapid scale-up during our next phase of expansion,” reckons CEO Tim Harris. “The company is in the process of adding a second manufacturing line that will significantly increase capacity to meet expected demand.”

Simultaneously, SoloPower is in discussions with the US Department of Energy to potentially obtain a loan guarantee under EPACT 2005 Section 1703 to support the construction of an additional multiple-line production facility.

The firm’s modules are on display at the jura-plast GmbH booth at this week’s European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference in Valencia, Spain (6–9 September 2010). Also, chief technology officer Dr Mustafa Pinarbasi is speaking on 8 September about ‘Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Flexible CIGS Cells and Panels’.

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