MiaSolé and GTech Global Partner to Sell FLEX Modules in Northern California

GTech Global and MiaSolé have entered into a sales representative agreement. GTech Global will sell MiaSolé FLEX modules in Northern California. GTech Global “GTG” and its associates have more than 35 years of business experience in developing and implementing energy-efficient building solutions. Their group has focused their expertise on energy management and conservation. A broad range of experience has qualified GTG to be a developer of energy management programs. They are excited to partner with MiaSolé and the opportunity to help serve the thin-film solar market.

GTech Global will sell MiaSolé FLEX modules, efficient thin-film lightweight flexible modules with an efficiency rating of more than 16 percent. MiaSolé FLEX modules bond directly to the roof surface with a simple peel-and-stick adhesive. The low-profile FLEX module provides superior wind resistance and a seismic advantage over traditional rack-and-panel systems where their higher profile and method of attachment increases the likelihood of damage in an earthquake, making FLEX modules the ideal solar solution for the Northern California market. This adhesive approach also eliminates the need for racking and reduces labor and logistics cost to provide a 20 percent lower BOS cost than traditional glass solar systems.

The FLEX-02 Series module is available in two formats. The FLEX-02W module is 39.3 by 102.3 inches and is rated at 360 watts, and designed for low-slope commercial single-ply roof systems. The FLEX-02N module is 14.6 by 102.3 inches and is rated at 120 watts, and designed specifically for standing-seam metal roofs. The FLEX-02 Series module is IEC 61646 & IEC 61730 and UL 1703 certified.

The FLEX-02 module provides GTech Global customers other significant benefits. The low weight of the module (less than 0.7 pound per square foot) allows installation on roofs that cannot support the weight of traditional glass solar panels. Because the FLEX-02 panels adhere directly to the roof surface, there are no penetrations, eliminating the worry of leakage and damage to valuable contents within the building. The FLEX-02 also is aesthetically pleasing, blending into metal and TPO roofs and preserving the original look of the roof.

MiaSolé and Uber Énergies Enter into a Representation Agreement to Sell Solar Modules Across Canada

Uber Énergies in Montreal, Quebec, has entered into a representation agreement with MiaSolé in which Uber Energies will represent MiaSolé in the Canadian market, as well as certain special channels into which Uber Energies has distinct relationships and access.

Uber Energies will sell MiaSolé FLEX modules, efficient thin-film lightweight flexible modules with an efficiency rating of +16 percent. MiaSolé FLEX modules bond directly to the roof surface with a simple peel-and-stick adhesive. This adhesive approach eliminates the need for racking and reduces labor and logistics cost to provide a 20 percent lower BOS cost than traditional glass solar systems. The low-profile FLEX module also provides superior wind resistance and a seismic advantage over traditional rack-and-panel systems where their higher profile increases the likelihood of damage in a storm or earthquake. The FLEX-02 Series module is IEC 61646 & IEC 61730 and UL 1703 certified.

“The addition of the MiaSolé module to our staple of services and products brings to our offerings one of the most unique solar technologies in the world. The ability to benefit from thin film solar module characteristics in our northern climates or for certain off-grid applications is one of the key reasons why we chose to partner with MiaSolé. With more than 28 years of experience in solar thin film technologies, Uber Energies team is happy to be bringing such an efficient flex module to the marketplace,” says Sass M. Peress, president of Uber Énergies.

“We are happy to be partnering with Uber Énergies in the promotion of our products in Canada and certain special targets. We believe that in combining our efforts, we’ll maximize the market access for our unique and quality product. Given the Uber team’s vast experience with thin film, we are convinced that we’ve brought on the right go-to-market partner and look forward to our first installations together,” says Anil Vijayendran, senior director of Sales and Marketing, MiaSolé.

Benmax to Represent MiaSolé in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore Markets

Benmax Group in Australia has entered into a representation agreement with MiaSolé in which the Benmax Group will represent MiaSolé in the Australia, New Zealand and Singapore markets. Benmax Environmental, a new division of Benmax Group, provides high-quality environmental advisory and consulting services to help organizations throughout Australia and New Zealand rise to the challenge of changing environmental codes and standards. Benmax Group believes that sustainable building requires very close cooperation of the entire project team—the designers, the architects, the engineers and the client at all project stages. They have a proven track record of working cooperatively with its clients and its practice expands and complements the standard building design concerns of economy, utility, durability and comfort.

Benmax Group will sell MiaSolé FLEX modules, the most efficient thin-film lightweight flexible modules on the market today with an efficiency rating of more than 16 percent. MiaSolé FLEX modules bond directly to the roof surface with a simple peel-and-stick adhesive. The low-profile FLEX module provides wind resistance and a seismic advantage compared to traditional rack-and-panel systems where their higher profile increases the likelihood of damage in a hurricane or earthquake, making FLEX modules an ideal solar solution for the Hawaiian and island markets. This adhesive approach also eliminates the need for racking and reduces labor and logistics cost to provide a 20 percent lower BOS cost than traditional glass solar systems. The FLEX-02 Series module is IEC 61646 & IEC 61730 and UL 1703 certified.

Whitehead & Associates and MiaSolé Partner to Sell Solar Modules

Whitehead & Associates Inc., a power and energy solutions and services company that provides a wide range of custom electrical applications, and MiaSolé have entered into a sales representative agreement. Whitehead & Associates will sell MiaSolé FLEX modules in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Whitehead & Associates services virtually every branch of the electrical industry, including the electric utility, commercial and industrial, large power users, and all lighting markets. Established in 1968, Whitehead & Associates has more than 45 years of rock-solid results and reputation to bolster their portfolio of offerings.

Whitehead & Associates will sell MiaSolé FLEX modules, the most efficient thin-film lightweight flexible modules on the market today—with an efficiency rating of more than 16 percent—generating the most power possible. The FLEX-02 Series module is available in two formats. The FLEX-02W module is 39.3 by 102.3 inches and is rated at 360 watts, and designed for low-slope commercial single-ply roof systems. The FLEX-02N module is 14.6 by 102.3 inches and is rated at 120 watts, and designed specifically for standing-seam metal roofs. Both FLEX-02 Series modules bond to the roof surface with a simple peel-and-stick adhesive. This adhesive approach eliminates the need for racking and reduces labor and logistics cost to provide a 20 percent lower BOS cost than traditional glass solar systems. The FLEX-02 Series module is IEC 61646 & IEC 61730 and UL 1703 certified.

“This is an exciting engagement for Whitehead & Associates to represent MiaSolé FLEX modules,” says Scott Whitehead, president at Whitehead & Associates. “This high-performance solar roofing in such a lightweight form can serve a variety of markets, including commercial, industrial, auto and off-grid. Whitehead & Associates will continue to bring innovative products and value to our customers so they can maximize energy efficiency in a cost-effective manner.”

The FLEX-02 module provides Whitehead & Associates’ customers significant benefits. The low weight of the module (less than 0.7 pounds per square foot) allows installation on roofs that cannot support the weight of traditional glass solar panels. Because the FLEX-02 panels adhere directly to the roof surface, there are no penetrations, eliminating the worry of leakage and damage to valuable contents within the building. The FLEX-02 also is aesthetically pleasing, blending into metal and TPO roofs and preserving the original look of the roof. The low-profile FLEX-02 module provides superior wind resistance and a seismic advantage over traditional rack-and-panel systems where their higher profile increases the likelihood of damage in a hurricane or earthquake.

ClearWorld and MiaSolé Partner to Provide Flexible Solar Panels

ClearWorld and MiaSolé entered into an agreement in which MiaSolé will be the supplier of flexible solar panels for ClearWorld’s LED lighting system, RETROFLEX.

ClearWorld and MiaSolé entered into an agreement in which MiaSolé will be the supplier of flexible solar panels for ClearWorld’s LED lighting system, RETROFLEX.

ClearWorld LLC, a renewable energy system solution provider, and MiaSolé have entered into an exclusive Multi-MW agreement in which MiaSolé will be the sole supplier of flexible, lightweight solar panels for ClearWorld’s unique LED lighting system, RETROFLEX. “MiaSolé’s unique cell design and flexible module enables a host of non-standard applications,” says Jeff Zhou, MiaSolé CEO. “We are very excited to see our technology used in such an innovative and game-changing application as the ClearWorld RETROFLEX LED Light.”

ClearWorld RETROFLEX, available internationally, is a patented lighting technology that brings clear cost-saving and environmental benefits to clients. RETROFLEX light poles harness solar energy and provide outdoor lighting that preserves resources, requires no moving parts, and is virtually maintenance-free. The RETROFLEX unit supports wireless monitoring for faults, as well as wireless programming, including dimming capabilities. Its unique design allows the panels to be affixed to any dimension, diameter or finish, and will work with any existing pole without compromising the integrity of its design.

MiaSolé FLEX is uniquely well-suited to this application as the lightweight, flexible solar modules wrap around the base of the light structure, eliminating the solar rectangle “wing” design of typical solar streetlight panels and dramatically reducing build-up of dust and bird droppings that decrease module efficiency. The modules on a RETROFEX unit require very little maintenance when compared to glass panels installed at an angle of 30 degrees. The vertical installation also reduces the chance of vandalism and theft, and preserves the aesthetic appeal of the light. In addition, attaching FLEX modules directly to the cylindrical shape of the pole increases resistance to wind. A traditional solar light with rectangular panel can withstand 70 to 90 mph winds while a light powered by a MiaSolé flexible module can withstand 150-plus mph. The curved design also performs better in high temperatures.

MiaSolé FLEX modules are efficient thin-film lightweight flexible modules with an efficiency rating of 16 percent. For ClearWorld, the power generated by a MiaSolé module is sufficient to charge a backup battery that can power an LED streetlight for up to eight days, meaning even in times of inclement weather the light will be operational. According to ClearWorld CEO Larry Tittle, “This exclusive supplier agreement with MiaSolé will provide ClearWorld with the capability to achieve its goal of bringing clear cost-saving and environmental benefits to our clients.”

Because solar-powered lighting is self-contained, it is off-grid and can be used in remote installations and is unaffected by power outages. It is ideal for roadways, sidewalks, apartment and condominium complexes, corporate and industrial parking lots, retail parking lots, university campuses, government institutions, and military installations.

Flisom Receives Investment from Tata Group for Thin-film Solar Module Production Plant

Flisom, a Swiss company developing innovative technologies for manufacturing of flexible thin-film CIGS solar modules (copper-indium-gallium-(di)selenide), has received an additional investment of CHF 10 million following an earlier investment of CHF 42.5 million in 2013 for the pilot production plant with an annual capacity of 15MW in Niederhasli-Zurich in Switzerland. During the last years, Flisom improved the design of roll-to-roll manufacturing machines for processing and scaled them up from 50-centimeter-wide to 1-meter-wide rolls—an unprecedented scale of manufacturing capability for continuous processing of cost-efficient, high-performance monolithically interconnected flexible CIGS solar modules on plastic foil.

This fourth round of funding comes from Flisom’s existing strategic investor, the Tata group, a global enterprise headquartered in India. “We are very pleased with this further investment from the Tata group coming on the eve of the inauguration of Flisom’s 15 MW capacity pilot production plant, and we thank the Tata group and existing investors for their continued support,” says Ayodhya Nath Tiwari, chairman of Flisom Co.

“We appreciate the systematic approach towards innovation and the continuous hard work of Flisom’s team in developing a unique manufacturing plant, while partnering with Empa with several efficiency-related records for flexible solar cells,” says K.R.S. Jamwal, executive director, Tata Industries. He adds, “This investment marks Tata group’s interest in next-generation technology for the solar photovoltaic industry.”

“With the investment received in 2013, Flisom refurbished an old manufacturing building of 4,500-square-meter ground area in Niederhasli, in the outskirts of Zurich, to install all the needed machines for solar module manufacturing on 1-meter-wide rolls. At the same time, Flisom continued technology development on 50-centimeter-wide rolls at its Dübendorf plant, located on the campus of Empa,” says Flisom’s COO, Sudheer Kumar.

The CEO of Flisom, Ulfert Rühle says: “After the successful installation of machines and other factory infrastructure in Niederhasli, the next step is to transfer the process know-how on these high-tech machines using specifically customized designs. Some of the machines are based on many years of development by experts, innovative proprietary designs and complex engineering making Flisom’s machines unique for achieving cost and performance efficiency targets for a breakthrough manufacturing”.

“The 15MW plant will serve as a proven blueprint for establishing larger production plants having a production capacity greater than 100 MW as well as low capital and operating expenditures. Flisom has been working steadily towards lowering the costs of manufacturing of flexible solar modules,” adds CEO Rühle.

Flisom’s high-performance, lightweight, and robust products and systems could lower the price of solar electricity thanks to low material usage, economic production technology, and reduced storage, transportation and installation costs. Markets addressable by Flisom’s flexible solar module manufacturing technology include utility scale solar farms, building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), building applied photovoltaics (BAPV), transportation and portable power.

Ayodhya N. Tiwari, founder of the ETHZ spin-off company Flisom and the head of the Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics, Empa-Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technologies, believes that the high-efficiency flexible and lightweight CIGS thin-film solar cells have great potential to provide low-cost installed solar systems, bringing many beneficial features together in a very unique manner. In addition to the economic benefits, CIGS thin-film solar modules, known for faster energy payback than the mainstream Si wafer technology, will significantly contribute to CO2 reduction. Future norms and regulations are expected to enforce application of carbon footprint reducing technologies. Therefore, the broad range of applications of flexible lightweight CIGS modules, especially in buildings, will open up untapped markets worth several billion euros while advantageously reducing carbon footprint. This goal is achievable with highly efficient, long-term performance stable, low-cost solar modules produced in a low-capex production plant.

Empa and Flisom have been cooperating for a number of years to develop a unique industrial-scale production platform for CIGS thin-film solar modules. “Scale-up for large-area solar modules and adapting these complex innovative processes for industrial manufacturability is quite a challenge and requires close collaboration between research labs and industrial partners for transferring research excellence to industrial usability,” says Pierangelo Groening, head of the Department of Advanced Materials and Surfaces and member of Empa’s Board of Directors. ”For industrial partners such as Flisom, we provide support on different topics to enable industrial development of novel and innovative concepts, which often require sophisticated analytical tools and skilled experts.” Empa CEO Gian-Luca Bona adds: “We are pleased that Empa’s innovations in the field of renewable energy, especially in photovoltaics, are being transferred to industry for the benefits of a more sustainable society with a growing energy demand. This example perfectly illustrates Empa’s role as a bridge between research and practical applications.”

“Flisom is thankful to Empa for very valuable and sustained research and development support over several years. Flisom also thanks Swiss federal and European funding agencies for their continuous support. Besides the technological progress, the number of employees during the last two years have gone up to more than 55 now, and of course more employment opportunities for technically skilled persons are open for the production plant in Niederhasli,” says Flisom CEO Ulfert Rühle.

Thin-film PV Provides Greater than 16 Percent Cell Efficiency

MiaSolé has made available its second-generation FLEX Series Modules.

MiaSolé has made available its second-generation FLEX Series Modules.

MiaSolé has made available its second-generation FLEX Series Modules. The CIGS-based flexible thin-film PV modules provide greater than 16 percent cell efficiency for many types of roof applications. FLEX-02W module is 39 by 102 inches, rated at 360 watts and designed for low-slope commercial single-ply roof systems. FLEX-02N module is 14.6 by 102 inches, rated at 120W and designed for standing-seam metal roofs. Both modules bond to the roof surface with a simple peel-and-stick adhesive, which eliminates the need for racking and reduces labor and logistics costs. The FLEX-02 Series modules are IEC 61646, IEC 61730 and UL 1703 certified.

MiaSolé and McElroy Metal Partner to Sell Thin Film Solar Modules

MiaSolé Hi-Tech, a subsidiary of Hanergy, announced a partnership with McElroy Metal to sell MiaSolé FLEX series, thin film solar modules as part of McElroy Metal’s solar panel solutions. The MiaSolé thin film modules carry a 15.5 percent efficiency rating with a simple peel-and-stick application method that reduces balance of system costs by 20 percent. McElroy will offer MiaSolé modules factory laminated directly to its metal roof panels to create a lightweight, low-profile solar energy solution durable in extreme, high-wind and seismic zones and on buildings with limited load bearing roofs.

McElroy also markets a complete solar kit for McElroy standing seam, low-slope, storage unit and carport metal roofs. By providing square footage and location, McElroy can provide a complete, pre-engineered solar package with MiaSolé modules, inverter and balance of system components.

The MiaSolé and McElroy Metal partnership combines many advantages for architects, developers, builders and contractors. The 25-year—or more—power output of the MiaSolé FLEX series modules compliments the long service life of metal roofs. Options for factory-applied FLEX modules to metal panels can further reduce onsite installation costs and contribute to consistent quality.

“Today, solar is becoming a standard part of the building envelope,” says Ken Gieske, vice president of marketing for McElroy Metal. “Our partnership with MiaSolé expands our support of green building initiatives and the growing demand for renewable energy as an industry standard.”

Anil Vijayendran, head of product management at MiaSolé, adds: “We are excited to partner with McElroy Metal. With a high efficiency rating for thin film, the MiaSolé FLEX series modules enable roof manufacturers to install a renewable energy solution on roofs and structures previously restricted by wind, seismic and weight limited building structures.”

Large Format Solar Module Is for Low Slope Commercial Roofing

Miasole FLEX W module

Miasole FLEX W module

Miasole, a company of Hanergy, introduces its new FLEX 01-W PV (210-watts) module for TPO roof systems. The Miasole FLEX W module is the roofing industry’s first flexible large format solar module for low slope commercial roofing. The FLEX module’s high-performance self-adhesive provides a roofer-friendly simple peel-n-stick installation system with the industry’s first 25-year adhesion guarantee.

The Miasole FLEX module bonded to the TPO roof systems eliminates the need for racking, concrete ballast or roof penetrations. The FLEX low profile PV module has the same wind uplift rating of the roof system design, making FLEX the best solar choice for high wind zones. Weighting less than 0.7 pound/square feet, FLEX is idea for roofs with low load capacity and buildings in high seismic areas.

The Miasole FLEX modules simplify project logistics, reduce labor costs and installation.

View the Miasole solar TPO installation video.

MiaSolé is a producer of thin-film Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) solar cells and panels. Founded in 2004, MiaSolé has evolved from a Silicon Valley start-up to the world leader in thin film solar panel efficiency. In its Sunnyvale, Calif., facility, MiaSolé has demonstrated 15.5 percent module efficiency in production. Miasole became part of the Hanergy family of renewable energy technology companies in 2012.

Solar Roof Energy Is the Answer for Mega Cities of the Future

Seven billion people will live and work in urban areas by 2050 and the demand for energy for all these people will be huge. Local production of energy will be needed with building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) key to make cities at least partially self-sufficient with energy. Rapid development in thin-film solar cell efficiency strengthens the business case for BIPV with great opportunities for suppliers of roofing materials and construction companies.

The electricity produced by ‘roof solar energy’ could be used for heating, cooling, running office machinery or even fed back to the grid, earning the building owners money.

The electricity produced by ‘roof solar energy’ could be used for heating, cooling, running office machinery or even fed back to the grid, earning the building owners money.

More than half of the planet’s population lives in urban regions today. This will grow to 75 percent in the next 30 to 35 years. That would mean 7 billion people living in more or less congested areas, all needing shelter, food—and lots of energy.

There is a growing consensus that the mega cities in the future cannot rely entirely on energy produced far away. Besides supply constraints, there are energy losses in the transport of the electricity; logistical nightmares; security issues; and, of course, environmental concerns.

There is a very healthy debate about distributed energy generation, often defined as electricity generation from many small sources. This discussion must be encouraged. We simply cannot solve the energy challenges of tomorrow with energy solutions of yesterday.

The distributed energy discussion has so far mainly centered on local smaller power plants, district energy, more efficient electricity distribution, the ‘smart grid’, etc. That is good. But we must also talk about the potential for local production of renewable energy by the end users on a micro scale, the very individuals who consume all this energy.

What do the end users have in common? Well, they all need a roof over their heads, at home and at work. These roofs can produce renewable energy! So the building industry can play a major role in solving mega cities’ energy challenges.

Building-integrated photovoltaics can be incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, and existing buildings may be retrofitted with similar technology.

Building-integrated photovoltaics can be incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, and existing buildings may be retrofitted with similar technology.

Look at an aerial image of a city and you will see an area densely covered by buildings—crisscrossed by roads and the occasional recreational area. All these buildings—houses, apartments, garages, offices, factories, schools and municipal buildings of all sorts—have roofs. New development in solar energy has transformed all these roofs—and even walls—into potential giant solar energy receivers.

The electricity produced by ‘roof solar energy’ could be used for heating, cooling, running office machinery or even fed back to the grid, earning the building owners money.

What I call ‘roof energy’ is building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), one of the fastest-growing segments of the photovoltaic industry. Photovoltaic materials are used to replace (or are added onto) conventional building materials in not only roofs, but also skylights and facades. They can be incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, and existing buildings may be retrofitted with similar technology.

Traditional wafer-based silicon solar cells are efficient but rigid, thick and heavy, ideal for large solar parks in sparsely populated areas but not in dense cities. They are too heavy for most roofs. However, thin-film solar cells made out of a copper-indium-gallium-selenium metal alloy (CIGS) are thin, light and flexible. They can be made frameless, can be bent, and are ideal for buildings and other structures that are uneven, moving or weak.

The business case for thin-film solar cells is strengthening rapidly since they are becoming increasingly efficient. A Swedish supplier of thin-film solar cell manufacturing equipment has managed to increase the aperture efficiency (the area on the solar panel that collects energy) from 6 percent four years ago to 11 percent two years ago and a record breaking 17 percent today by using a revolutionary all-dry, all vacuum process where all layers are deposited by sputtering.

An office, school, storage facility or factory with a flat roof in a Mediterranean country like Italy could annually yield 1,250 kWh from every kW installed, at a production cost of 7.2 U.S. cents. The production cost would decrease if the roof is slanted by up to 20 percent for an optimal 35-degree angle. The production cost would obviously be higher in colder countries and lower in countries nearer the equator. But even in Sweden the production cost could be as low as 8 cents.

Thin-film solar cells made out of a copper-indium-gallium-selenium metal alloy (CIGS) are thin, light and flexible.

Thin-film solar cells made out of a copper-indium-gallium-selenium metal alloy (CIGS) are thin, light and flexible.

A production cost of 5 to 10 cents is well below the current—not to mention the expected future—electricity prices. There are great variations in the price of electricity today, but many users pay between 10 and 30 cents per kWh (including taxes). Commercial and residential users pay even more.

The $100bn global roofing material market is in a healthy state, growing at 3.7 percent per annum and driven by an uptick in residential building construction (especially reroofing) in developed and developing markets. Here is an excellent opportunity for architects, roofing material suppliers and construction companies to take a leading position in what is destined to be the material of choice for urban planners in the future.

Thin-film BIPV solar energy solutions can be made light and are flexible. They can be fitted or retrofitted onto roofs without perforating the roofs and can be curved or bent. Installation is easy and cost-efficient with no racks or ballast needed. There are no weight constraints and no access limitations (you can walk on the panels). And they can be integrated on bitumen and TPO membranes.

Selling roofing solutions and electricity together opens up to completely new business models: suppliers can offer a discounted roofing price in combination with a stable and independent supply of electricity. Customers can secure electricity price—and get a new roof.

Municipalities and city planners in today’s and tomorrow’s mega cities will make efforts to make their cities greener and more sustainable. It is no wild guess that green buildings with ‘roof energy’ systems will get preferential treatment in public tenders and maybe even subsidies. Building owners will like the prospect of lower energy costs.

So the question to the world’s architects, roof manufacturers and construction companies is: Do you feel lucky? Do you feel confident enough to keep doing business as usual, selling traditional roofs to consumers who might sooner than expected demand energy-producing and cost-saving roofs and buildings? Or will you grab an unparalleled opportunity to gain market share by offering state-of-the-art products that will change the world or at least the way the world’s urban population powers their daily lives?

For me, the answer is simple: If end users can produce part of the energy consumed in a sustainable fashion where they live and work, that would go a long way toward solving the energy and climate challenges of the future. Flexible, efficient, thin-film solar cells for buildings are an integral part of this solution.