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16 September 2016

MiaSolé launches next-generation 17%-efficient flexible, ultra-light CIGS PV modules

At Solar Power International in Las Vegas (12-15 September), copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic solar cell and panel maker MiaSolé of Santa Clara, CA, USA (which was founded in 2004 and acquired by Beijing-based renewable energy firm Hanergy in December 2012) launched its next generation flexible ultra-light solar modules.

MiaSolé says that the new products deliver efficiency of up to 17% (twice that of previous flexible, thin-film, solar technology) in a flexible, thin, ultra-lightweight form factor (four times lighter than traditional rigid solar panels).

The firm says that the new product can be installed in any location, on and off the grid – even in places where it previously was not possible to install solar – with an energy payback of less than half a year. MiaSolé has achieved high-volume production and started to ship volume orders in 2016.

In the past, solar installations were limited to rigid glass panels that could only be installed in certain conditions based on the type of structure or roofing of the building. MiaSolé reckons that its new ultra-light, high-efficiency flexible solar product will open up new markets, create new applications, and enable new product design possibilities for manufacturers to integrate solar solutions into their products. MiaSolé's new products are part of a broader trend in the solar power industry toward more versatile integrations of solar panels into roofing and other products. For example, Elon Musk recently announced that SolarCity intends to start offering a new 'solar roof' product with integrated solar technology. "Instead of just selling solar panels that can be placed on someone's existing roof, SolarCity can sell the entire roof itself with the solar power capabilities built into it, potentially opening up a whole new market," Musk has said.

MiaSolé is already developing partnerships to create new types of roofing and other building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products with solar power integrated into them. McElroy Metal, a supplier of advanced roofing solutions, is partnering with MiaSolé to create solar roofing solutions. "Their thin-film solar modules are aesthetically pleasing and attach very easily to our roofing systems, because they have a factory-applied adhesive that works well with our metal panel roofing," comments Ken Gieseke, VP of marketing for McElroy Metal. "MiaSolé's next-generation flexible solar panels have significantly improved in performance compared to previous flexible solar cells… Their flexible solar panel performance is now on-par with rigid glass panels," he adds.

"Our new flexible ultra-light solar solution is bringing to light the next generation of flexible solar technology that overcome most obstacles to solar energy adoption," says Anil Vijayendran, MiaSolé's VP of product sales & marketing. "This technology is especially relevant as part of the larger conversation that Elon Musk and SolarCity are starting to promote, with the idea of an integrated 'solar roof' product instead of separate solar modules installed on a roof," he adds. "Our thin-film solar technology has made a generational shift compared to previous limitations of rigid glass panels, and has reached a new level of efficiency and adaptability. This is especially important for installing solar on the roofs of buildings – our flexible solar technology is 4x lighter than standard glass panels, which helps solve one of the biggest challenge for integrating solar into roofing structures, which is the weight of the solar panels."

Vijayendran also said that MiaSolé's new high-efficiency flexible solar panels are more cost-effective than previous generations of flexible solar technology. "Even as we have significantly expanded the efficiency of flexible solar technology, we have managed to keep costs under control – making flexible solar a more compelling and cost-effective proposition and opening up solar to new markets," says Vijayendran.

MiaSolé claims that its new flexible ultra-light solar product is the highest efficiency, thin-film solar technology on the market, with production efficiency of up to 17% (2x more efficient than previous generations) and more than 18% projected by 2017. The solar solutions can be configured in various sizes and modified to fit any application by adhering directly to surfaces with peel-and-stick adhesive. Because they are so thin (2.5mm), the new flexible solar panels are shatterproof and resistant to wind and seismic activity.

MiaSolé runs production of its solar solutions from a 100MW factory in China and pilot line in Santa Clara, CA.

Tags: MiaSolé Hanergy CIGS

Visit: www.solarpowerinternational.com

Visit: www.MiaSole.com

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