Japan's Solar Frontier Enters US Thin-Film Solar Market

Solar Frontier announced a first agreement to supply its unique solar panels for a multi-megawatt installation in North America.

Juwi Solar will use Solar Frontier’s CIS (copper, indium, selenium) solar panels to build a 3.8 megawatt (MW) installation for an unnamed regulated utility in the Northeast US. 

Solar Frontier is owned by the Japanese firm Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K (5002.T), and it is the only commercial manufacturer making CIS panels.

CIS panels contain only small amounts of cadmium – a toxic material that is a primary material in CdTe (Cadmium Telluride) thin film solar panels. First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), the largest US solar company, makes its thin-film panels from recycled cadmium. 

The solar panels will be produced at Solar Frontier’s new gigawatt-scale Kunitomi plant in Miyazaki, Japan. When operating at full capacity, the new plant is expected to be the single largest solar manufacturing facility in the world.

Solar Frontier is also working with IBM to develop CZTS (copper, zinc, tin, sulfur, and selenium) thin-film solar technology.

And Solar Frontier has an agreement to supply General Electric with its first branded solar panels, which the company intends to use in utility-scale projects.

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