SoloPower Receives UL Certification for Flexible Solar Photovoltaic Module

technician with flexible CIGS solar photovoltaic modules
SoloPower’s flexible CIGS modules are well-suited for rooftop solar installations.

In a watershed breakthrough for the solar photovoltaic industry, SoloPower, a California-based manufacturer of flexible, thin-film solar PV cells and modules, has received UL certification for its flexible CIGS (Copper indium gallium diselenide) modules, a first-ever achievement for the PV solar industry.

“As governor, I have made it a point to make California an environmental leader with a global footprint. SoloPower’s advancement demonstrates that California is leading the way in technology innovation for the green economy,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “We welcome this type of innovation that creates jobs, strengthens the economy, and helps protect the environment.”

This is the first UL-certified product in a line of high-power flexible modules being introduced initially to European and North American markets. The flexibility and high-power rating of these products will allow SoloPower’s customers to reduce balance-of-system and installation costs, while their low weight and application features will facilitate solar installations where they are otherwise impossible.

“The certification of SoloPower’s flexible CIGS module is an important step toward the realization of lightweight, high-power, flexible solar modules with potential to expand the roof-top solar market and reduce balance of system costs. It is an important milestone for the industry. I feel very gratified to see, after a 30-year career in Thin Film CIGS PV at NREL, the technology become mature,” says Dr. Rommel Noufi, Principal Scientist of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

UL certification was granted following rigorous testing at an independent laboratory. SoloPower’s thin-film modules were tested to UL 1703, the standard for safety for PV module manufacturing. In addition to this confirmation, SoloPower itself has conducted extensive internal testing that well exceeds the safety, quality, and reliability standards established by these tests. SoloPower was also the first manufacturer to receive UL certification for rigid modules based on flexible CIGS PV cells in June of 2009.

SoloPower’s line of high-power, lightweight, flexible photovoltaic module products include multiple form factors: the SFX1 module (80Wp, 0.3m x 2.9m, 2.3kg / 5lbs.), the SFX2 module (170Wp, 0.3m x 5.8m, 3.6kg / 8 lbs.), and the SFX3 module (260Wp, 0.9m x 2.9m, 6kg / 13lbs.).

Plans for Scale-up to Address Demand

“With low-cost and low-capital expenditure requirements, SoloPower’s core manufacturing process will enable rapid scale-up during our next phase of expansion,” said Tim Harris, CEO, SoloPower. “The Company is in the process of adding a second manufacturing line that will significantly increase capacity to meet expected demand.”

Simultaneously, SoloPower is in discussions with the Department of Energy to potentially obtain a loan guarantee under EPACT 2005 Section 1703 to support the construction of an additional multiple-line production facility.

SoloPower produces low-cost, high-power, flexible thin-film photovoltaic modules that offer a viable alternative to electricity produced using traditional fossil fuels. SoloPower’s modules employ its solar cell devices fabricated with copper indium gallium di-selenide (CIGS) materials using a proprietary roll-to-roll electrodeposition process. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley, San Jose, California.

Read Large-Scale Solar Power Systems: Construction and Economics from Amazon.