Solar Frontier on track with new CIS plant
Solar Frontier has announced that it is installing newly enhanced proprietary CIS production lines at its upcoming production facility. The plant in Tohoku, Japan, features upgrades from Solar Frontier's existing production lines using technology developed in R&D at its Atsugi Research Centre (ARC).
Satoru Kuriyagawa, CTO of Solar Frontier, commented: "The Tohoku plant manufacturing process leverages cutting-edge technology developed at our ARC, partnered with proven line technology from our Kunitomi Plant to deliver significant enhancements. For example, precise processes such as the formation of the CIGS absorption layer (the heart of CIS thin-film modules), the patterning process, and electrode formation are now faster and can be controlled more accurately. With significant advances in all areas, this factory delivers faster, more compact and more efficient production, in turn enabling significant cost reductions."
The new lines will also enable important product upgrades, including adjustments to the voltage and current of the modules, ays the company. The upgrades will enable more freedom in system design and make placement of cables and other wiring more efficient. Also, leveraging Solar Frontier's 20.9 percent conversion efficiency technology, modules coming off the mass-production line will achieve efficiencies of over 15 percent.
These product improvements build on the performance advantages of CIS, a technology that generates more kilowatt-hours per kilowatt-peak in real world conditions compared to crystalline silicon panels. Generating more kilowatt-hours per kilowatt-peak installed is a key factor in the financial success of residential rooftop and commercial projects.
Tohoku Plant will become a model plant for future global expansion, and Solar Frontier is currently assessing possible sites for production facilities outside of Japan in line with worldwide demand growth and Solar Frontier's mid-term growth plans.
The plant is to be completed in March 2015.