Solar technology startup Violet Power has chosen Moses Lake, Washington, as the location of its first manufacturing plant. The company plans to manufacture silicon solar cells and panels in the United States. Production should begin in Q2 2021, with full manufacturing capacity of 500 MW of solar cells and separately 500 MW of solar panels reached by the end of 2021.
Violet Power is led by president and founder Desari Strader (previously with SolarWorld) and CEO Charlie Gay (previously with the DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office until November 2019). The company expects to create 500 jobs immediately before ramping to 1,000 jobs once the plant is at its full manufacturing capacity.
Violet Power solar panels will have a 50-year warranty — the longest in the solar industry.
“There are currently no vertically-integrated U.S. PV panel manufacturers to meet the growing global demand for solar power,” Gay said. “This lack of manufacturing capability within the United States results in billions of dollars in lost opportunity including jobs, wages, and revenue for American workers and government at the local, state, and federal level. In addition, there are serious concerns over supply chain self-reliance and electric grid security, which can be best addressed with control of the entire value chain. Violet Power’s manufacturing model addresses all of these concerns, and more.”
Greentech Media is reporting that Violet Power will use technology developed by SunFlex Solar, an Arizona-based startup that won funding from DOE’s American-Made Solar Prize. The group uses aluminum foil in place of silver and copper in interdigitated back-contact (IBC) solar cells. Replacing the precious metals with aluminum allows the IBC panels to be cheaper than traditional processes.
The Violet Power facility will be across the street from the shuttered REC Silicon polysilicon plant. REC shut the plant down after ongoing trade disputes between China and the United States prevented REC from selling its polysilicon into foreign markets. There are no plans as of yet to restart the plant, but Violet Power’s proximity and need for silicon could change things.
FYI – 2GW of the total 6.5GW of First Solar production capacity is in the USA. The rest is in Vietnam and Malaysia
First Solar’s Thin-Film PV Modules Chosen For Largest Urban Solar Power Plant In Europe
September 25th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
A solar power plant being built in Bordeaux, France, on a former landfill is expected to be the largest “urban” solar PV power plant in Europe. The factory is using solar modules from American solar presenter delivernment is firm First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR).
“In the world of solar PV, there are conventional crystalline solar PV modules, and there’s First Solar, which produces ‘thin film’ solar modules using CdTe chemistry. As the price of crystalline solar PV modules has fallen off a cliff, First Solar has also somehow driven down the price of its thin-film solar modules at the same time, keeping itself competitive in the hyper-competitive solar energy market and overall energy market.”
Image courtesy First Solar. Courtesy , Inc.
This week, First Solar shared that JP Energie Environnement (JPee) has decided to use First Solar’s Series 6 solar modules for its 59-megawatt (MW)DC Labarde solar power plant built on a former landmine. It’s an interesting project, to say the least.
The Series 6 modules are some of the most reliable in the solar industry. First Solar backs that up with a 25 year product warranty. Additionally the company notes that “First Solar is one of only five modules in the world to pass Atlas 25+, the Thresher and TUV Long-Term Sequential Tests.” Also buried on the module product page is the news that First Solar’s thin-film solar PV modules have “the best environmental profile in the industry.” They are the “lowest carbon” solar modules on the market, if First Solaris to be believed.
JPee, which is headquartered in Caen, France, currently operates 263MWDC of wind and solar power plants that create enough electricity for 230,000 average French homes.
“The land was designated as a wasteland, unfit for residential or commercial buildings, or agricultural use. JPee, however, secured a 35-year lease for the 600,000-square meter site and began developing the Labarde solar project, which was selected under successive rounds of the PV tenders organized by France’s Commission de Régulation De L’Énergie (CRE).”
“The Labarde project demonstrates the positive role that solar can play within a community. Its role goes beyond transforming sunlight into solar electricity and supporting France’s decarbonization goals, as it helps heal a piece of land that has no other practical use,” said Xavier Nass, Chairman, JPee. “While solar is inherently sustainable, this project is powered by the lowest carbon solar technology and sets new benchmarks for sustainability.”
With over 1,100 MW of solar power installed across 400 projects, “First Solar’s advanced module thin film technology forms the backbone of France’s solar fleet.”