Solar, Utility Integration

Ascent Solar goes to great lengths with its new lamination capability

Ascent Solar more than doubles the size of its CIGS-based modules, and eyes a lengthy 4M sq. ft of annual product output from its 30MW plant.

by Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, Photovoltaics World

Ascent Solar recently announced that it has developed a monolithically interconnected 5m long flexible lightweight module on a polyimide substrate. Previously, the company’s lamination capability was limited to 2m, which is in use in its first line (1.5MW) that started in mid-2008.

The CIGS-based thin-film material used in the module was manufactured using the company’s 1.5MW roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing line. The module was encapsulated during the testing and qualification of equipment that will be used for its 30MW plant under construction. Based on internal test and evaluation, this 5m long module weighs 2kg and produces 123W (under standard test conditions) with an aperture area efficiency of 9.1%. This length is a baseline for the company’s development of large-area flexible building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products with its strategic BIPV partners. The 30MW plant will make roughly 4M sq. feet of product/year, Prem Nath, SVP for production operations, told Photovoltaics World.

The new lamination tool was custom designed and built for the company by an external supplier. The new production line will need to handle product that is 5m × 1.5m. The lamination tool was shipped to Ascent Solar in June and is expected to be operational by September.