19 July 2012

Global Solar expands its CIGS BIPV module into Japan rooftop market

Global Solar Energy Inc of Tucson, AZ, USA, which makes flexible copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic cells and modules, has announced an expansion into Japan’s growing solar market, establishing local partnerships and offering a new design of its PowerFLEX BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaic) system that has been adapted specifically for use on rooftops in Japan.

Picture: Global Solar Energy’s PowerFLEX BIPV rooftop Installation on Yokosuka US Naval Base in Japan.

Together with Japan-based partners CBC Co Ltd, Eco Holdings and OG Corp, Global Solar aims to enable Japanese businesses to adopt what is claimed to be the most powerful flexible solar roofing module on the market and to take advantage of the country’s new feed-in tariff (FIT).

The Japanese government’s progressive new FIT program went into effect on 1 July, requiring utilities to pay 42 yen per kilowatt-hour (about $0.52 per kilowatt-hour) for 20 years from solar plants generating 10kW of energy or more. As the country reduces its dependence on nuclear energy and opens the door for more renewable energy adoption through the new FIT, researchers estimate this could foster a solar market of $9.6bn and 3.2GW of capacity.

“With its recent FIT program and proven dedication to integrating more renewable energy into its utilities’ portfolio mix, Japan will prove to be one of the most important markets for solar in the coming years,” says chief sales officer Jean-Noel Poirier. “With our highly valued partners, Global Solar is well positioned to take advantage of the market growth and bring our powerful and cost-effective PowerFLEX BIPV solar solution to more rooftops around Japan,” he reckons.

Global Solar claims that, with 12.6% aperture efficiency, its PowerFLEX BIPV module delivers the highest efficiency in the flexible module sector, with its large format and a high power density (300W) reduce installation and balance of system (BOS) costs. The PowerFLEX BIPV system’s lightweight and flexible design suits commercial roofs where traditional glass solar modules are too heavy, the firm adds.

Typical Japanese buildings have compact roofs, making the PowerFLEX BIPV a suitable fit as the module allows more power generation per square foot than any other BIPV solution, the firm claims. Also, by being applied directly to a roofing surface and requiring no mounting hardware or roof penetrations, the system maintains the integrity and aesthetics of a building structure.

“Recognizing the desire of many Japanese businesses to reap the benefits of the FIT program while also maintaining the aesthetics of their buildings, Global Solar offers an alternative to traditional heavy and rigid glass modules, as well as other flexible PV products,” says Poirier.

Global Solar is already deploying its PowerFLEX systems in Japan, including a completed 400kW rooftop system on the Yokosuka Naval Base (a US military base), which was installed in partnership with Beachside Solar. Also, currently undergoing certification at the Japan Electrical Safety & Environment Technology Laboratories (JET) is a new 4m-long module (200Wp), a PowerFLEX BIPV system that Global Solar has specially designed for the Japanese market, complete with a back junction box allowing integration into various roofing systems. That system, and 2m and 6m modules (100Wp and 300Wp, respectively), are already UL and IEC certified.

Tags: Global Solar Energy CIGS BIPV

Visit: www.globalsolar.com

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