4 October 2011
Global Solar forms partnerships and expands manufacturing to deliver flexible CIGS PV roofing modules worldwide
Global Solar Energy Inc of Tucson, AZ, USA, which makes flexible copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic cells and modules for applications ranging from lightweight portable solar chargers and traditional glass solar modules to building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products, says that it has achieved several key milestones, including new strategic partnerships and an expansion at its manufacturing plant in Berlin, Germany, that enable the high-volume production and delivery of its PowerFLEX BIPV modules (which it claims to be the most powerful solar roofing solution) to commercial buildings worldwide.
Global Solar says that, offering what is reckoned to be twice the power per module than competing offerings and a simple, lightweight design that requires no roofing hardware, the capabilities of PowerFLEX BIPV have been recognized by leading roofing and building companies around the world, which have signed multi-year, multi-megawatt agreements with Global Solar. The firm has partnered with ENERGYKA, ISCOM SPA and BA Energy in Italy, and it is finalizing agreements with other channel partners in Europe, the USA and Asia.
“Since introducing PowerFLEX BIPV, there has been a surging interest in its simple and cost-effective way of increasing the value of a rooftop with solar energy generation,” says Jean-Noel Poirier, senior VP of business development & marketing. “There is a lot of demand for laminates on roofs with weight limitations throughout the world,” he adds. “The high efficiency of CIGS brings a huge advantage to this market segment, which was limited by the low efficiency of existing flexible laminates.”
In late August, Global Solar began manufacturing PowerFLEX BIPV modules at its new production facility in Berlin-Adlershof, which has an annual capacity of 35MW. Following successful pilot operations, staff are now manufacturing modules on a two-shift rotation, and three-shift operation is planned soon. Also, earlier this year, the PowerFLEX BIPV roofing module received certification from both the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
“Our UL and IEC certifications, as well as the scale up of our plant in Berlin, allow us to start delivering the product in high volume,” says Poirier. “Our customers are well positioned in their markets and are developing innovative roofing systems using our module,” he adds. “We are gearing up to announce several commercial rooftop and landfill projects in Europe.”
Global Solar says that its PowerFLEX BIPV roofing panels are a more powerful and cost-effective alternative to traditional heavy and rigid glass solar modules, as well as other flexible PV products. Designed specifically for roofs, they maintain the integrity of a building structure, requiring no mounting systems and no penetration of the roofing membrane, while its large format and high power density deliver lower installation and balance of system (BOS) costs, it is claimed. Also, since the module rolls out flat onto the roof, wind load concerns are eliminated.
Global Solar is showcasing its PowerFLEX BIPV module in booth 7157 at Solar Power International 2011 in Dallas, TX, USA (17-20 October).