New Solar Plant Starts Producing PV Product

The first solar panels have been shipped to the Honduras from a new photovoltaic manufacturing plant in Massachusetts.

MARLBORO, Massachusetts, US, 2001-06-11 [SolarAccess.com] The first solar panels have been shipped to the Honduras from a new photovoltaic manufacturing plant in Massachusetts. Evergreen Solar, Inc. says its EC-51 item is the first product made entirely at the 56,000 square foot facility in Marlboro. Although production at the plant started in April, the company has operated the facility in parallel with its original plant in Waltham, in order to qualify processes and equipment at the new facility. The final move of operations from Waltham to Marlboro is expected to be complete by the end of June. “We are extremely pleased at the progress of our new plant startup,” says president and CEO Mark Farber. “The successful integration of new equipment, much of it custom, and the introduction of wider ribbon and higher efficiency solar cells represent important milestones in our commercial expansion.” The EC-51 is a 51 watt PV panel that incorporates wider solar cells with higher conversion efficiency than the existing products manufactured by Evergreen. The shift from a ribbon width of 2.2″ to a width of 3.2″ represents a productivity increase of 40 percent in the wafer fabrication process, the company claims. The conversion efficiency goes from 10 to 12 percent, representing a 20 percent increase in power per square inch compared with existing products. The first shipment of new solar panels was shipped to Soluz Honduras, a subsidiary of SOLUZ, Inc. of Massachusetts. The units are used to generate electricity for rural residential and commercial customers in the northwestern Honduras. The SOLUZ shipment incorporates Evergreen’s proprietary and patented String Ribbon(TM) process for manufacturing solar wafers. The process avoids the waste and cost associated with conventional slicing of solid silicon ingots, because it can use half of the silicon per unit area as conventional processes.
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