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New CIGS factory in Berlin lights up

Global Solar Energy is expanding its manufacturing facilities and planning on moving from a two-shift rotation to a three-shift operation at the beginning of the third quarter.

Thin-film manufacturer Global Solar Energy this month commissioned a new production facility in Germany.

 Flexible modules that are currently the most efficient of their kind worldwide are now manufactured at the site in Berlin-Adlershof, which has a production capacity of 35 MW. Over 60 vacancies have already been filled at the plant with a further 100 jobs due to be created by the end of 2012.

Following successful pilot operations earlier this month, staff at the facility now manufactures the flexible thin-film modules on a two-shift rotation. Plans are laid to move to three-shift operation at the beginning of the third quarter.

The new factory has a production area of 2,100 square metres and processes solar cells fabricated in-house. The latter are laminated between a number of films, which ensure the durability of the product. High module efficiencies of up to 12.6% are achieved thanks to a unique mixing ratio of copper, indium, gallium and diselenide. Furthermore, several of the factory’s machines are custom-built, which ensures that series production is optimised.

“Production started successfully. By collaborating with experienced suppliers, and as a result of the great expertise and phenomenal commitment of our team, we were able to commission and install the equipment in the new factory within just five months. I am deeply grateful to my staff for this,” says Jens Mühling, Managing Director of the company’s German branch.

Weighing just 3.5 kilograms per square metre, the lightweight PowerFLEX BIPV modules are particularly well-suited to use on flat industrial roofs, as the structural design of such buildings often prevents the use of heavy, thick-film modules. After being rolled on the roof surface, the flexible thin-film modules are simply affixed into position and require no support frames or stands.

The roof membrane is not pierced and no additional wind loads are produced. Measuring 5.74 x 0.5 metres, PowerFLEX modules offer a high power density of up to 300 W. They are therefore around twice as efficient as flexible amorphous silicon solar modules.
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