Global Solar Energy 750 kiloWatt CIGS Solar Field Live?

Source claims it is up and running.

GSElogo After Intersolar North America 2008, the Chip Shots blog by Tom Cheyney at reported in “Global Solar ready to install modules, flip switch on CIGS solar field within months”:

The CIGS “modules are going on in August,” noted Teich, “and the power will be turned on by November,” although the switch could be flipped as soon as September, especially if an inverter they’re waiting on shows up soon.

Well, as you can see from the Picasa slideshow below, the apparent 98W (Watt) Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) modules have been installed into the 750 kW (kilowatt) solar field arrays next to Global Solar Energy, Inc.’s 100,000 square foot (about 9230 square meter) manufacturing facility located in Tucson, Arizona USA. The inverters are also in place beneath shelters for protection from the intense Tucson summer sun.

From Global Solar Energy 750 kW (kiloWatt) Solar Field

My confidential source says the solar field went live towards the end of October 2008. But why no hoopla or press release for this milestone? Although “Global Solar’s CIGS PV module earns IEC certification” was the Global Solar news a few weeks ago, it appears these PV modules do not yet have a UL Listing under Global Solar or Solon.

What is the Solon connection? Per “Global Solar Forsakes Private Equity Round” by Yuliya Chernova for Dow Jones’ Clean Technology Insight, Global Solar:

is majority owned by Germany-based I-Sol Ventures GmbH and its minority investor, with about a 19% stake, Berlin-based Solon AG.

Solon AG’s (FRA:SOO1) USA subsidiary SOLON Corporation began manufacturing solar modules and systems in Tucson, Arizona, for the North American market towards the end of 2007. SOLON is manufacturing modules based on Global Solar’s CIGS cell strings at the same facility 9.9 miles from Global Solar’s factory.

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Or perhaps Global Solar is waiting for the field to stabilize and to collect performance data before the formal, public, switch flipping ceremony? As also reported in the Chip Shots blog post mentioned above:

“The light soak of CIGS happens in the first day,” explained Teich. “Peak power is reached in about four weeks, and then it stabilizes after that.” But he added that the precise period of stabilization and other system performance stats are still “speculation,” since there have not been (m)any CIGS fields of this size, certainly not in the US.

Earlier this year in “Q&A: Global Solar VPs Dish Thin-Film Details” by Jennifer Kho, Tim Teich said:

I’m not sure that we’re not [commercializing] in a fashion now…. My guess is through this next six-month phase we will be [adjusting the equipment and testing]. We’ll be going along the path and when we introduce a product it will be IEC and UL approved. In the meantime, we have plenty of opportunity to develop products and know that they work and actually install them.

So Global Solar and Solon may be waiting for the UL Listing before launching the 98 Watt (100 Watt?) module along with the solar field for maximum impact.

Global Solar and MMA Renewable Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC (OTC:MMAB), announced the solar field project details in “MMA Renewable Ventures and Global Solar Sign First PPA for CIGS Thin Film”:

The innovative solar energy system will be financed, owned and operated by MMA Renewable Ventures with Global Solar purchasing the clean power generated under the terms of a twenty-five year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Designed and installed by Solon America Corporation, the thin film solar power system will generate more than 1.1 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable electricity annually at Global Solar’s new state-of-the-art factory. Incorporating Global Solar’s CIGS technology into modules constructed by Solon America, the ground-mounted solar energy system will offset 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide over its expected 25 year lifetime.

Well, if you have not heard the news, Jennifer Kho is no longer with Greentech Media. Michael Kanellos has taken over as editor at Greentech Media although the revisionist historians missed a reference on the Greentech Media News and Editorial page. Oops!


  1. Mike Kaelin says:

    Why would UL listing have anything to do with the press release of such an important milestone? UL listing is not required for industrial equipment.

  2. Sun Fish says:

    If the plan is to bid on projects for distributed large scale systems for commercial entities, such as Frito Lay or Walgreen’s, and public facilities, such as schools and municipal buildings, I think meeting UL requirements is a good idea.

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