SoloPower Expands Thin-Film Manufacturing to 400 MW

Thin-film solar manufacturer SoloPower announced it will increase production capacity to 400 megawatts (MW) wth the support of a $197 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office.

SoloPower uses a roll-to-roll electrodeposition manufacturing process to make copper, indium, gallium and (di)selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) cells. The process is said to be quicker and more efficient than other manufacturing methods. 

The PV cells are then packaged into flexible, lightweight solar modules that are well-suited for industrial rooftop installations.

The modules, which SoloPower launched in 2010, can be mounted in locations with low weight-bearing ability, and are available in multiple sizes up to 2.9 meters in length for efficiently covering irregularly shaped roofs. They are also installed at zero tilt, which increases the system’s coverage ratio and therefore power density.

Solo Power has joined with elQ Energy Inc. to provide a product package that includes customized wiring. The combined offering  allows purchasers to obtain a single price quote for a solar array’s entire electrical system, including PV modules, pre-fabricated wiring, and eIQ Energy’s vBoost DC-to-DC converter modules, which enable parallel wiring.

Parallel wiring eliminates panel interactions – a method that is generally recognized for providing better power density and energy harvesting. The approach can also cut system costs by eliminating cabling and combiner boxes, and reducing the labor needed during system installation.

SoloPower recently began expanding its existing facility in San Jose, California, and construction on the first facility in Portland, Oregon is anticipated to start next month.

SoloPower investors include Hudson Clean Energy Partners, Crosslink Capital, Convexa, and Firsthand.

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