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1 June 2016

Solar Frontier's Tohoku Plant begins commercial production

Tokyo-based Solar Frontier – the largest manufacturer of CIS (copper indium selenium) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules – has begun commercial production at its 150MW Tohoku Plant in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

Due to using the firm's most advanced production technology, compared with its main production plant in southern Japan (the 900MW Kunitomi Plant) the Tohoku Plant requires only two-thirds the investment and manpower per megawatt. It also requires only one-third the time to manufacture a CIS solar panel. The technology also enables Solar Frontier to achieve what are claimed to be best-in-class production costs globally, and serves as a template for future production lines.

Solar Frontier first announced its decision to build the Tohoku Plant in December 2013. After completing construction in April 2015, the firm began ramping up the newly installed production lines. The plant now manufactures CIS solar panels of the same grade and higher compared to the Kunitomi Plant, prompting the decision to initiate sales. 

The Tohoku Plant's first panel.Picture: The Tohoku Plant's first panel.  

New Tohoku Plant modules will go on sale this summer in their home prefecture of Miyagi before being made available in other areas of Japan. Solar Frontier aims to provide solar panels with output of 180W and beyond once the Tohoku Plant reaches full production.

Also, new features are claimed to offer benefits for installers and end-users. For example, the addition of a busbar in the middle of the module improves the panel's ability to perform when partially covered by shadows. Another key feature is lower module voltage, which enables greater flexibility when designing systems. Tohoku-produced panels also include modifications to the frame and junction box, making installation and maintenance easier.

The start of commercial production at the Tohoku Plant marks the continued cooperation between Solar Frontier, Ohira Village and Miyagi Prefecture.

See related items:

Solar Frontier completes construction of Tohoku Plant and begins ramp-up

Solar Frontier installing enhanced CIS production lines in new Tohoku Plant

Tags: Solar Frontier CIS thin-film PV modules

Visit: www.solar-frontier.com

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