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11/19/2009 08:52 AM     print story email story  

CA Thin-Film Solar Company Begins Commercial Shipments News

California thin-film solar manufacturer MiaSolé announced that it has started shipping its CIGS thin-film modules from its California production facility.

“We have now shipped modules to 30 customer sites in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and various locations in the United States; we now have commercial projects in the ground, under development and on the drawing board,” said Dr. Joseph Laia, CEO. “With complete UL/IEC certification and long-standing customer partnerships, we are now ramping our factory output and production capacity for 2010. We are confident our cost structure and manufacturing efficiencies will enable us to compete effectively in the large and growing solar energy market.”

Earlier this year MiaSolé announced the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) verified the company is producing modules exceeding 10% efficiency.

10% efficiency is the general rule of thumb for the point at which thin-film solar becomes cost-competitive with other forms of energy production.

Tests by scientists at the National Laboratory showed Miasolé’s modules measured at 10.2% efficiency. The modules tested were based on Miasolé’s flexible cells encapsulated in a glass/glass construction. All of the CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenide) cell material in the modules was manufactured on the company’s continuous, roll-to-roll production line.

Miasolé utilizes sputtering, a well-established method of Physical Vapor Deposition, to deposit CIGS on a 2 mile long, 3 foot wide wide roll of stainless steel foil in a continuous, roll to roll process. Because of its high utilization of material, an automated production process, and uniform and repeatable film deposition, Miasolé’s production technology can produce modules at low cost and high volume.

As of July 2008 Miasolé had installed two 20-megawatts (MW) production lines in its Santa Clara facility, but a more recent Greentech report pegged the facility's current capacity at 60MW.


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