GP Joule constructs 20.8 MW CIGS PV park in Germany

28. October 2011 | Applications & Installations, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Becky Stuart/Jonathan Gifford

At 20.8 megawatts (MW), GP Joule has completed construction on what has been described as the world’s largest CIGS photovoltaic project. Today marks the opening ceremony.

Q-Cells branding against photovoltaic modules

Q-Cells delivered the photovoltaic modules needed for the project. Image: Q-Cells.

Located in the North Frisia area of Germany, in Wiefelstede, Solarpark Ammerland was developed by Martin Bucher on a former military airbase. Q-Cells, meanwhile, supplied around 200,000 of its Q.SMART CIGS thin-film solar modules, and provided technical support, and Module24 selected the equipment suppliers.

According to a statement released, the project was constructed in just eight weeks. It is expected to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 6,000 households. Aquila Capital, an independent investment company, provided the investment needed.

"The Ammerland plant is proof of the fact that CIGS thin-film modules are eminently suitable for building efficient, profitable solar power plants," commented Marc Weißmüller, CEO at Module24 GmbH.

Q-Cells CIGS update

At present, the module supplier on the Solarpark Ammerland project Q-Cells is one of the largest CIGS manufacturers. However, it has had to wind back production in 2011. Q-Cells told pv magazine that its thin-film lines in Thalheim, Germany, are now running at 80 megawatts (MW) annual producton. This is significantly below its 135 MW full-production capacity.

Q-Cells modules have consistently achieved high efficiencies from its CIGS production. Module efficiency, at present, stands at 13.4 percent, which is one of the highest in the industry.

The company, which acquired the Swedish Solibro CIGS technology in 2009, says that it is currently looking for a partner to realize plans to expand its CIGS production. It has previously announced the intention to expand production to 500 MW and says that "talks are ongoing" with potential partners to do so.

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