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Nanosolar raises the bar with printed CIGS efficiency of 13.9%

NREL and ISE have independently certified the new panel and cell efficiencies. In addition, Munich Re is providing warranty insurance and Nansolar is now a member of the European panel recycling organisation PV Cycle.

Thin film solar innovation leader Nanosolar, has announced what it says is new efficiency benchmarks of 11.6 % for the Nanosolar Utility Panel and 13.9 % for its printed CIGS solar cells.

The cells were measured by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (ISE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The company also announced an agreement for panel warranty insurance with Munich Re, and membership in European panel recycling organisation PV Cycle.

"Our mission is to produce the most cost efficient solar power possible," said Geoff Tate, CEO of Nanosolar. "We are doing this through our printed CIGS technology, innovative panel design and sound manufacturing decisions that lower panel costs in tandem with balance of system costs."

Nanosolar prints its proprietary CIGS and nanoparticle inks directly onto low-cost aluminum foil, both faster and more cost-effectively than with traditional high-vacuum manufacturing equipment. Both NREL and ISE recently measured these solar cells at slightly below 14 % efficiency.

Leveraging the latest in robotic manufacturing practices, Nanosolar assembles these electrically-matched, all-back-contact thin film solar cells into uniform, high quality solar panels using its efficient and cost-effective metal wrap through process at assembly factories that can be located at the point of panel demand.

Nanosolar will reach an annual manufacturing capacity of 115 megawatts by Autumn 2011. Nanosolar is currently shipping 10 % efficient, 200W panels in volume with plans to reach 11 % and 12 % efficiencies in volume within the next 12 months.

Unique design choices enable the Nanosolar Utility Panel to significantly reduce mounting hardware costs, wiring cable volume, and required installation labour in multi-megawatt installations.

The Nanosolar Utility Panel has two pieces of durable, tempered glass versus one tempered glass sheet for most thin film panels, uses two edge connectors as opposed to a standard junction box, and produces more power and operates at a far lower voltage than standard thin film panels.

 In addition, Nnosolar claims it  is the first solar panel to be certified by TUV to operate at up to 1500 system volts. These unique system design features allow for balance of systems cost savings of up to 30 percent over competing thin film solar panels in utility-scale power plants.

Nanosolar recently signed a panel warranty insurance policy with Munich Re in preparation for future multi-megawatt installations and panel bankability. The panel warranty insurance policy covers Nanosolar's 2011 factory production and serves as a backstop to Nanosolar's 25-year limited performance panel warranty.

"Through our extensive due diligence process, we were impressed with the quality and controls in the Nanosolar manufacturing process," said Christian Scharrer, Head of Green Tech Solutions, Special Enterprise Risks at Munich Re. "We are confident in standing behind the Nanosolar Utility Panel as a credible and bankable technology for low cost utility-scale solar installations."

As part of its commitment to an effective waste management and recycling policy for the company and its partners, Nanosolar has joined PV Cycle, the leading European organization committed to responsibly recycle solar panels. The Nanosolar Utility Panel has one of the industry's lowest carbon dioxide and toxic emissions lifecycle footprints, and its energy payback time is less than eight months.

"Together, these announcements establish the Nanosolar Utility Panel as a leading choice in thin film, utility-scale solar," continued Tate. "We will soon announce strategic supply agreements with a number of solar power plant developers and installers that will leverage Nanosolar's ability to drive down the cost of solar power."

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