16 February 2012

Solar Frontier ships 13.2MW of CIS PV modules to NRG

After signing a module supply agreement in December, Tokyo-based Solar Frontier (a subsidiary of Japanese energy business Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K.) has delivered 13.2MW of its CIS (copper indium selenium) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules to NRG Solar LLC of Carlsbad, CA, USA.

NRG Solar owns and operates some of the largest solar power plants in the USA, and has more than 2000MW of solar projects under development or in construction across the southwest US. It is a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc of Princeton, NJ, USA, which owns and operates one of the USA’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios (with over 25GW of capacity).

The deal marks the first agreement between the two firms and the first purchase of thin-film CIS technology by NRG Solar. Although the purchase is not set for a specific project, Solar Frontier says that the transaction demonstrates the confidence NRG Solar has in CIS technology for future installations.

“NRG Solar’s leadership in the industry makes them an extremely valuable long-term customer of Solar Frontier,” comments Gregory Ashley, chief operating office of subsidiary Solar Frontier Americas Inc in Santa Clara, CA.

The modules are produced at Solar Frontier’s gigawatt-scale Kunitomi factory in Miyazaki, Japan, which combines automation, scale, and low-energy, end-to-end processing of CIS modules. Solar Frontier claims that the ‘light soaking’ effect of CIS modules significantly increases output from initial values, while a lower temperature coefficient than crystalline silicon means that more kWh are produced under real conditions in hotter climates. The firm also claims that its modules also involve lower overall energy consumption in the manufacturing process, yielding one of the fastest energy payback times in the solar industry.

Solar Frontier total shipments have grown from 46MW in 2009 to 70MW in 2010 then 577MW in 2011. As well as being the world’s largest CIGS PV panel maker, Solar Frontier is now the second largest thin-film PV module maker, behind cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA (which shipped 2GW in 2011). In mid-January, Solar Frontier signed a $100m-plus agreement to supply renewable energy project developer enXco of San Diego, CA, USA with up to 150MW of modules, delivering 26MW in fourth-quarter 2011 for the Catalina Solar Project in Kern County, CA (to supply power to San Diego Gas & Electric).

Tags: Solar Frontier CIS thin-film PV modules

Visit: www.nrgsolarenergy.com

Visit: www.solar-frontier.com

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