– Successful field trials of flexible CIGS solar modules since December 2009
– PVflex guarantees a module lifespan of 25 years using a lamination process developed in-house
– Cost-effective alternative to lamination behind glass with a much broader range of applications for use on flat and industrial roofs
PVflex Solar GmbH, the specialist in highly flexible CIGS solar modules for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), was able to successfully conclude comprehensive field tests on flat roofs and is the first European supplier to obtain IEC 61646 and 61730 certification.
The successful completion of the field tests and IEC certification represent a milestone for the CIGS industry. PVflex’s flexible lamination opens up entirely new possibilities for the deployment of CIGS cells, marking the beginning of a new chapter for building-integrated photovoltaics in terms of effectiveness, cost and system economics. PVflex developed its modules in close cooperation with leading manufacturers of roofing materials. The result is an extremely practical product which can be installed on industrial and commercial rooftops using adhesive alone. In terms of cost, the flexible modules are fully competitive with existing rigid lamination solutions behind glass. They also support entirely new solutions to meet the tremendous global demand for building-integrated photovoltaics.
PVflex developed its own solution for the flexible lamination of CIGS solar cells over a period of four years. The solution has been patented. It is made possible by the specially developed barrier technology, which protects the sensitive CIGS solar cells against water and water vapor over the long term. Instead of expensive, delicate high-barrier films, PVflex is able to use competitively priced films that are already established in the market. This means the flexible PVflex modules are already fully competitive with conventional, rigid photovoltaic modules behind glass in terms of cost and efficiency. No financially competitive alternative solutions can currently be identified over the medium term.
Erik Theilig, CEO of PVflex Solar GmbH: “A long-lasting flexible module based on established processes using materials readily available in the market is a technological breakthrough. We have been developing and refining our technology since 2006, with a clear focus on meeting the requirements of our roofing industry partners. Now we are working on the market introduction in close cooperation with market-leading manufacturers of roofing materials. Our unique cost advantages and unrivaled ease of installation are likely to generate high awareness and acceptance for our product in the marketplace.”
PVflex Solar’s new flexible modules feature a number of significant advantages, especially for bonding on flat and curved roofs – in commercial and industrial rooftop applications in particular. They are up to three times faster to install, easily mounted using adhesives and do not damage roofing materials, unlike conventional mounting solutions. Its flexible solutions also offer new possibilities for integrating photovoltaic installations into the roofing membrane and on roofs that have already reached their full load-bearing capacity.
Thanks to flexible lamination, CIGS cells now have the ability to realize their potential as the most efficient thin film technology and to dominate the building-integrated photovoltaics market in the future.
The market for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) has considerable growth potential in the near future. Experts believe that global BIPV volume could increase tenfold by 2013 and could exceed 2,500 MWp by 2015. Lux Research estimates that the global BIPV market will total USD 5.7 billion by 2013.
About PVflex Solar GmbH:
PVflex Solar GmbH specializes in flexible solar modules for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). PVflex’s technologically leading and patented laminating process opens up entirely new possibilities for the use of CIGS cells in building-integrated applications. The company works closely with leading manufacturers of roofing materials. Thanks to its own mounting technology, PVflex is able to offer complete systems at attractive prices while maintaining quality and providing new architectural scope compared to conventional systems. PVflex currently operates a pilot production line at its headquarters in Fürstenwalde with series production from mid-2011 at the latest.