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29.06.2011 00:00

Q-Cells introduces Q.SMART thin film modules for North American PV market


Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany / San Francisco, 29 June 2011 – Q-Cells SE, one of the world’s leading photovoltaic companies, has introduced its Q.SMART modules, the world’s most efficient thin film modules, for the North American photovoltaic market. Q.SMART is based on CIGS technology, designed to maximize power output and return-on-investment in distributed solar generation.

With aperture efficiencies of up to 14.7 percent, Q.SMART holds the world record for thin film modules in serial production since 2009. Q.SMART harnesses a “light-soaking” effect to generate an average of 2.5 percent power boost above Nominal Power at Standard Test Conditions when deployed in the field. A Q.SMART solar module was the top performing thin film module in Photon’s Energy Yield Test in April 2011. Q.SMART also outperforms competitors in diverse environmental conditions, including low-light periods of the day and high-heat climates. Ideal for commercial and residential settings. Q.SMART comes along with a positive sorting; meaning customers always receive what they pay for, and more.

“The release of our innovative Q.SMART technology in North America aligns with Q-Cells’ corporate vision to bring leading solar technology and partnerships to local markets,” said Marc van Gerven, Managing Director of Q-Cells North America. “We are executing against our strategic roadmap. Since entering North America one year ago, Q-Cells introduced first its utility-scale solar business, then rolled out its PV systems business, and began module sales with the availability of Q.SMART.”

An industry first, Q-Cells offers an unrivaled Power Appreciation Warranty of 25 years – a 100 percent performance guaranty for the first three years, and linear degradation of not more than 0.7 percent per year thereafter, achieving still 85 percent of rated output power after 25 years. This warranty program reassures customers that their Q.SMART modules will continue at peak performance throughout their operational lifetimes.

Q.SMART modules carry the Q-CELLS YIELD SECURITY seal of quality. This includes an Additional Power Boost (APB), an increase in output by up to 15 percent through positive sorting and the light soaking effect, a proven benefit of our thin-film technology; plus 360° efficiency (TDE – three-hundred-and-sixty degree efficiency) through flexible installation in diffused light conditions, in shade and at unfavorable angles.  

The CIGS technology behind Q.SMART was developed in 1983 by the Ångström Solar Center at Uppsala University, Sweden, commercialized by the spin-off company Solibro in 2006, and acquired by Q-Cells in 2009. In March 2011, Q-Cells announced it had achieved the milestone of 14.7 percent production efficiency on the aperture area, which is the latest world record for monolithically integrated CIGS thin film modules. Q.SMART is produced in Thalheim, Germany, at the company’s own factory. At the end of 2010, total production capacity of Q.SMART modules had reached 135 MWp.  

Outside of North America, Q-Cells has already deployed Q.SMART modules in both commercial and residential installations. Q.SMART projects in 2010 include a 3.4 MWp commercial rooftop Tontarelli, Italy, a 610 kWp commercial rooftop at Venice Airport, Italy, and an 880 kWp carport at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany.