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CIGS solar panels for weight-constrained rooftops

U.S. thin-film module manufacturer Sunflare is ramping up production at its factory in China. The company makes four different CIGS modules.

Midsummer, a Swedish BIPV module manufacturer and supplier of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) turnkey equipment, has announced that it will provide U.S.-based thin-film manufacturer Sunflare with two more production lines for its panel factory in Nanjing, China.

The factory already hosts two “DUO machines” from Midsummer. “Midsummer’s manufacturing equipment is by far the best for producing these types of solar cells and our ambition is to increase the number of DUO machines in our factory to the maximum number of eight in 2022,” said Sunflare CEO Philip Gao.

The U.S. company currently makes four different flexible panels at the manufacturing facility. The Flex 60 panel is available in 165 W to 185 W versions, with efficiencies ranging from 13.3% to 15%. The 60-cell frameless panels can operate with a maximum system voltage of 1,000 V, with a temperature coefficient of 0.35% per degree Celsius, and a bypass diode per cell. It measures 1,660 mm x 990 mm x 1.7 mm and weighs in at 5 kg. Its open-circuit voltage is 35-4-36.6 V and its short-circuit current is 7.3-7.5 A.

The 127 mm stainless steel substrate allows for generous curvature,” said Sunflare.

The PowerFit 2 module has a power output of 60 W and a power conversion efficiency of 15.0%. The 20-cell frameless panel measures 3,439 mm x 388 mm x 1.7 mm and weighs 1.6 kg. Its open-circuit voltage is 12.0 V and its short-circuit current is 7.3 A. It can operate with a system voltage of 1,000 V and has the same temperature coefficient as the Flex 60 product.

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With PowerFit there are no roof penetrations needed,” the manufacturer said. “The modules come with a butyl adhesive backing – just peel and stick for a secure, water-tight hold that can withstand gale force wind.”

The Litemount 60 panel has the same electrical specifications and is the same size as the Flex 60 product, but it has a black anodized aluminum frame and is a bit heavier at 7.1 kg. Sunflare has described the module as the only lightweight panel that seamlessly integrates with every existing metal roof attachment system.

The fourth product is a 105 W frameless module with a conversion efficiency of 11.0%. The 40-cell Xplor panel measures 1,202 mm x 828 mm x 1.7 mm and weighs 2.9 kg. Its open-circuit voltage is 21.0 V and its short-circuit current is 7.4 A. It can operate with a system voltage of 1,000 V and has the same temperature coefficient as the other three products. The panel can also be used for mobile applications.

All of the modules are purportedly 75% lighter than conventional crystalline solar panels and 95% thinner. Their output is guaranteed at 90% of the original efficiency for 10 years and at 80% for 25 years.

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Source: pv magazine