Bitterfeld-Wolfen / Heppenheim / Stuttgart, 28 October 2011 – Q-Cells SE, one of the world’s leading solar companies, has sold approximately 200,000 Q.SMART CIGS thin-film solar modules to the solar company GP Joule, based in the North Frisia area of Germany. Based on this, GP Joule has constructed the world’s largest solar power plant using CIGS thin-film technology, which was constructed in the record time of just eight-and-a-half weeks. The project was developed by the Stuttgart-based project developer Martin Bucher, while the company Module24 selected the premium Q-Cells products for the plant and all the companies involved. Q-Cells provided technical support during the installation phase. Today (Friday) sees the grand opening of the plant, Solarpark Ammerland, in the municipality of Wiefelstede in Lower Saxony. Approximately 100 invited guests will attend the opening; they include Lower Saxony’s premier, David McAllister. Investor of the project is the bank independent investment company Aquila Capital. Information on the volume of the investment is subject to a confidentiality agreement.
The plant was installed on an area of 57ha in Wiefelstede, in the Ammerland district, which had formerly served as a military airbase. With a total capacity of over 20.8 MWp, Solarpark Ammerland will cover the electricity needs of more than 6000 households and save about 11,800 tons of CO2 emissions annually by producing climate-friendly solar energy.
“We’re very pleased to be working with GP Joule and Module24; our cooperation demonstrates that our customers value us as a partner and trust our high-quality product applications and our technical expertise”, said Ingo Engelmann, COO of Q-Cells affiliate Solibro. “Solarpark Ammerland is a beacon project in the field of CIGS thin-film technology which proves the top performance and versatility of our Q.SMART modules.”
Marc Weißmüller, CEO at Module24 GmbH, and project developer Martin Bucher are in full agreement on their trust in Q-Cells: “Q-Cells adheres to the same high quality standards that we and our investors have upheld without compromises for many years now. The Ammerland plant is proof of the fact that CIGS thin-film modules are eminently suitable for building efficient, profitable solar power plants”, said Marc Weißmüller.
“Thanks to Solarpark Ammerland, we’ll be able to bring fallow land back to life and take a further stride along with the state of Lower Saxony towards a sustainable electricity system using renewable energy sources”, says GP JOULE CEO Ove Petersen. “The project clearly shows that there are forward-looking, efficient and economically sound usage ideas available for converted land, and that these ideas can be realised quickly and without too much bureaucratic red tape.”
Q.SMART solar modules from Q-Cells, based on CIGS thin-film technology, have the highest efficiency recorded to date in the field of thin-film modules. With efficiency ratings of up to 14.7 % in relation to aperture area, Q-Cells has held the world record for series-produced thin-film modules since 2009. The performance of Q.SMART modules receives a further boost from a “light-soaking effect“ which can increase output by an average of 2.5 % above nominal output in standard field test conditions. Their capacity to produce high yields even when light is poor or the climate is hot makes Q.SMART modules suitable for a diverse range of applications, from roof-mounted systems for residential customers to commercial roof-mounted systems and large ground-mounted installations. Customers who choose Q.SMART always get what they pay for – and more besides. Q-Cells emphasises this fact by providing customers with one of the best performance guarantees in the market, which assures them of 100% output in the first three years and states that linear decline in output thereafter will be limited to a maximum of 0.7 % per year from the fourth year onward. In other words, the modules still deliver 85 % of nominal output after 25 years.
The CIGS thin-film technology at the heart of Q.SMART was developed in 1983 at the Ångström Solar Center at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and commercially exploited from 2006 onward by the spin-off company Solibro, which was taken over by Q-Cells in 2009. Q.SMART modules are produced in the company’s manufacturing facility in Thalheim, Germany, which has a total production capacity of 135 MWp.