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16 October 2012

Solar Frontier consolidating production at 60MW MP2 plant into Kunitomi Plant

Tokyo-based Solar Frontier (a subsidiary of Japanese energy business Showa Shell Sekiyu) – the largest manufacturer of CIS (copper indium selenium) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules - is suspending production at its 60MW ‘MP2’ solar module manufacturing plant in Miyazaki prefecture in southwestern Japan as its 900MW flagship Kunitomi plant continues to demonstrate improved performance.

The firm is evaluating the role MP2 will play in opportunities to produce specialized solar products currently in development. The gigawatt-scale Kunitomi plant in Miyazaki began commercial production in February 2011 and all lines at the plant were operational by July 2011. It now produces CIS solar modules with efficiencies of 13-14%, delivering more kilowatt-hours per Watt than competing technologies such as crystalline silicon modules.

The MP2 plant, which provided much of the knowledge base for the design efficiencies of the Kunitomi plant, has operated since 2009. It is currently being evaluated for future opportunities to produce specialized solar modules being developed at Solar Frontier’s Atsugi Research Center for new and unique applications.
Employees will transfer their skills from MP2 to the Kunitomi plant and to sales engineering roles. “They are a great resource of knowledge and expertise that will continue to help Solar Frontier grow,” says president Shigeaki Kameda.

“The Kunitomi plant is the largest solar module manufacturing facility in Japan, and Solar Frontier is the only solar panel manufacturer in the world with production exclusively in Japan,” says Kameda. “With the heightened demand for solar in Japan, Solar Frontier is extremely well positioned with its combination of local manufacturing and skilled staff,” he reckons.

“The knowledge base we have in our MP2 staff will contribute to Solar Frontier’s progress beyond R&D and manufacturing,” says senior VP Atsuhiko Hirano.

Tags: Solar Frontier CIS


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