J.v.G. Thoma establishes 30 MW PV module fab in Tunisia

German solar equipment manufacturer J.v.G. Thoma has partnered with Tunisia’s Green Panel Tech in 2012 to establish the joint venture Green Panel Technology Jurawatt Tunis SA.

The solar plant is located in Tunis and will manufacture J.v.G. Thoma’s desert modules, both in monocrystalline and multicrystalline versions. The companies have completed the first installation at the fab. The desert modules, also called HPTP modules, have an extremely heat-resistant design, a high output, 100% potential induced degradation (PID) free and have an extended lifespan, according to the company.

J.v.G. Thoma said the new high-tech plant would require minimal personnel to operate, which will keep day-to-day production expenses low. The entire production line is fully automated, with washer, stringer, lay-up, EL tester, laminator, cooling, trim, frame, tape and flasher. J.v.G. Thoma is providing both the process and the module certifications.

"Demand for energy in Tunisia continues to grow the more developed its economy becomes," J.v.G. Thoma said in a statement. "Yet the country’s own oil reserves are no longer sufficient to meet demand. That’s why Tunisia intends to develop renewable energies. It is ideally located and has the perfect climate for solar energy."

The country’s Plan Solaire Tunisia (PST) is playing an important role in the development of solar energy generation and in formulating its target of increasing the renewables quota from 1% in 2009 to 4.3% in 2014.

The venture has taken some time from its inception to its near completion. The project stakeholders first visited the construction site in November 2012. The factory building was partially built within the following year. While J.v.G. Thoma shipped the first production equipment to the site in July, an unexpected ship workers’ strike delayed the journey by several months. It wasn’t until April that J.v.G. Thoma engineers managed to install the equipment.

Production is now scheduled to begin at the end of May or early June.