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Pioneer PV launches 'microsolar' CIGS outfit

The firm's copper indium diselenide microsolar-scale panels are suited to many applications. These include mobile consumer electronics, parking meters, remote industrial sensors, rural water filtration and purification systems


Pioneer PV Solutions, a next-generation, thin-film microsolar CIGS company, has officially launched its operations.

Pioneer plans to provide high-quality, off-the-shelf, compact solar solutions for rechargeable and DC power applications to an underserved, multibillion dollar market segment suffering from an inconsistent solar product supply chain.



Pioneer AAA battery charger

Despite significant advancements in solar power technology and the prodigious growth of the large-scale power module market, the opposite end of the form-factor spectrum has not benefited much from the increased quality and performance.

Today's leading photovoltaic module manufacturers focus on the residential, commercial and utility power segments, with little or no attention paid to the needs and requirements of low-power applications requiring up to 40 watts.

"There is no question that the efficiency, durability, and quality of 'big solar' technologies has vastly improved over the past 20 years," explains Vincent Kapur, vice president of business development for Pioneer PV.

"Yet off-the-shelf 'small solar' solutions are not adequately matched to the needs of the wide variety of microsolar applications. They are often the result of a 'scrapyard legacy,' where castoff crystalline-silicon cells are broken up and manually assembled into suboptimal mini-modules, with little attention paid to quality control, reliability, and performance. The economics of force-feeding the leftovers of traditional big solar technologies into small solar applications doesn't make sense anymore," continues Kapur.

The range of addressable applications that can employ microsolar-scale panels represents a vast "mega-niche," from mobile consumer electronics to parking meters, remote industrial sensors to rural water filtration and purification systems.

One of the largest emerging markets is lighting in the developing world, where some 1.4 billion people have extremely limited or nonexistent access to the electrical grid and in many cases rely on inefficient and polluting kerosene lamps - or nothing at all. A recent International Finance Corp. study on solar off-grid lighting in seven Asian countries identified a potential market of 75 million households, which currently spend approximately $2.2 billion on kerosene annually, in India alone.

Pioneer PV is actively engaged with a number of OEM integrators on high-end, low-cost solar charging solutions for their product lines. It continues to pursue additional strategic funding to expand its market development efforts and finance the build-out of a dedicated thin-film microsolar production line. The company leverages mature CIGS technologies specifically developed by a veteran PV development team to address the requirements of the growing suite of compact solar-powered applications.

 

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