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19 December 2014

Solar Frontier supplies CIS PV modules to Zero Energy Nano building at SUNY Poly

Tokyo-based Showa Shell Sekiyu subsidiary Solar Frontier – the largest manufacturer of CIS (copper indium selenium) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules – has been selected to supply its modules to the Zero Energy Nanotechnology (ZEN) building at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute’s (SUNY Poly) Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). The firm has already initiated the first of a series of deliveries (to be completed by summer 2015). The total project will result in a PV plant with a capacity of 2.4MWDC.

The project is part of a $25m partnership announced in September by CNSE and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) to install, commission, test and demonstrate technologies that include solar photovoltaics, lighting, fuel cells, and smart building energy management systems.

“In support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s high-tech vision driving New York State to become a leader in advanced research and clean technologies, the ZEN building will serve as a platform to demonstrate how leading-edge, clean-tech systems enable greater energy savings in buildings,” says Dr Pradeep Haldar, VP of Entrepreneurship Innovation and Clean Energy Programs at CNSE. “We have selected Solar Frontier’s CIS modules as one of the technologies to help get us there.”

The 356,000ft2 ZEN building, under construction at the $20bn Albany NanoTech Complex, will be one of the world’s largest net-zero-energy buildings, and will serve as a ‘living laboratory’ for renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies. It will be used to design ultra-high energy-efficient technologies that can be adopted to cut the operating costs of buildings in New York State and around the world.

“Net-zero-energy technologies are essential to an energy-efficient future in an urban world,” comments Charles Pimentel, chief operating officer of subsidiary Solar Frontier Americas. “CIS solar modules generate a higher electricity yield than crystalline silicon modules in real operating conditions, and can play an important role in realizing that future,” he adds.

Solar Frontier says that, in urban environments, its CIS modules have performance benefits including, for example, being less affected by shadow cover from nearby objects like buildings or other module arrays (leading to more kilowatt-hours than competitors in crowded urban areas, it is claimed). As well as their all-black appearance, the modules’ anti-glare properties are also more suitable for crowded urban environments where sun glare can have significant negative effects on the surrounding area and its inhabitants, the firm notes.

Solar Frontier is said to be the world’s largest CIS PV provider by shipments and revenue. It has developed its CIS technology for over 20 years, achieving record conversion efficiency of 20.9% for a CIS solar cell (0.5cm2). In 2007, it entered commercial production in southern Japan before ramping up its 900MW Kunitomi manufacturing plant in 2011. The upcoming 150MW Tohoku Plant (a model for future overseas manufacturing facilities) is the latest step in Solar Frontier’s mid-term growth plan, enabling CIS PV production at higher conversion efficiencies and what is claimed to be best-in-class cost levels.

Solar Frontier’s Americas operations are based at the firm’s regional office in San Jose, CA. The New York region remains a candidate for future plans to establish production bases for its proprietary technology outside Japan, with ongoing collaboration with the State of New York. The firm says that the USA is an important market as it implements a renewed focus on global expansion, based on demand for its thin-film CIS solutions in markets worldwide.

See related items:

Solar Frontier installing enhanced CIS production lines in new Tohoku Plant

Solar Frontier explores building R&D and manufacturing plant outside Japan with CNSE

Tags: Solar Frontier CIS thin-film PV modules CNSE

Visit: www.sunyit.edu

Visit: www.solar-frontier.com

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