CIS factory in Japan ramps up

Solar Frontier announced that all production lines at its flagship 900MW Kunitomi Plant in Miyazaki, Japan, have reached commercial operations. Together with its announcement earlier this month of the commercial availability of 150W modules at 12.2% efficiency, the Kunitomi Plant is on track to reach its targeted annual capacity of 900MW as average module output continues to increase.

Solar Frontier announced that all production lines at its flagship 900MW Kunitomi Plant in Miyazaki, Japan, have reached commercial operations. Together with its announcement earlier this month of the commercial availability of 150W modules at 12.2% efficiency, the Kunitomi Plant is on track to reach its targeted annual capacity of 900MW as average module output continues to increase.

The Kunitomi Plant is Japan?s largest solar module production facility, as well as the largest CIS factory in the world. With Solar Frontier?s existing plants, the company now has a total annual production capacity of around 1 gigawatt.  The billion-dollar plant shipped its first commercial thin-film CIS solar modules in February, 2011, only 16 months after breaking ground.

?The Atsugi Research Center (ARC) functioned as a production laboratory where we were able to fine-tune processes from raw materials to finished modules until our modeling matched precisely what we wanted to see in production,? said Satoru Kuriyagawa, Solar Frontier?s Chief Technology Officer. ?We increased the efficiency of the factory with ten-fold scale over Plant 2 and extensive automation while also increasing the size and efficiency of the modules coming off the Kunitomi production line.?

Solar Frontier says its modules are able to deliver higher overall power output (kWh) under real weather conditions. In operating conditions, the ?light soaking? effect of CIS modules significantly increases output from initial values, while a lower temperature coefficient than crystalline silicon modules means more kWh produced under real conditions in a wide range of climates.

?We identified CIS thin-film technology in 1993 as having the greatest potential to succeed the maturing crystalline silicon standard. Successfully ramping up from breaking ground to gigawatt-scale production in just over 21 months demonstrates the comprehensive abilities of Solar Frontier,? said Shigeaki Kameda, CEO. ?Not only are we proving the compelling features of our next-generation CIS modules though strong support from our customers, we have also now shown the world that we can scale this technology at speed.?

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