9 June 2020
Midsummer’s solar panels almost ten times more environmentally friendly than typical silicon solar panel
Midsummer AB of Järfälla, near Stockholm, Sweden – a provider of turnkey production lines as well as flexible, lightweight copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar panels for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) – says that a new life cycle assessment (LCA) shows that its solar panels generate nearly 90% less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than silicon-based solar panels made in China, and only 1% of the greenhouse gases that European coal power emits.
“For a conscious consumer of renewable energy, whether private or commercial, it is instrumental to look at the entire life cycle, i.e. the total climate effect of the product including material choice, manufacturing, transports, operations etc, and of course to choose an energy source with minimal carbon footprint,” says CEO Sven Lindström.
Midsummer says that, among the multiple reasons, its flexible CIGS solar panels do not contain any heavy glass or aluminium components, which greatly reduces material consumption. Also, the light-absorbing CIGS layer is extremely thin, so the production process is fast and consumes little energy. Midsummer uses only renewable energy in its factory.
The firm says that its technology allows production of electricity right where it is consumed (an important ‘green’ aspect). Midsummer’s solar roofs are nearly invisible and can be installed on tin roofs, shingles and large factory roofs (and can also completely replace shingles or tin). So, electricity is produced directly on top of the building where it is consumed.
For Swedish installations, production is local. Midsummer manufactures its solar panels in its own facilities in Järfälla just outside Stockholm. The firm is aiming to establish additional factories across Europe, which would mean shorter transportation distances and a higher ratio of renewable energy for production than silicon panels made in China (often with coal-based electricity), it is reckoned. Local production also means local employment and tax revenues etc, the firm adds.
The LCA report on Midsummer’s lightweight CIGS solar panels was carried out at the firm’s request by environment consulting company Miljögiraff AB. The study follows the ISO14041 standard and has been verified by a third party. The objective was to calculate the combined carbon footprint from 1kWh of electricity generated by Midsummer’s thin and discrete solar panels using CIGS solar cells from a life-cycle perspective.