Russia: Hevel launches first full-cycle PV module factory

Russian PV company Hevel Solar has launched a first full-cycle solar module manufacturing factory in Russia.

Built in Novocheboksarsk, a town in the Russian autonomous republic of Chuvashia, the plant is expected to produce one million solar modules per year, an annual output of 130 MW. Hevel’s investment in the production fab is estimated at $324.6 million.

The factory’s thin film solar module production technology is based on spraying nanolayers in the manufacturing process, which allows up to a 200-fold reduction in the use of silicon — the main raw material in solar energy.

According to the company, the solar modules produced in Novocheboksarsk are capable of generating electricity even in cloudy weather, which is especially important under Russia’s weather conditions.

Hevel’s solar equipment will be mainly used for construction of solar power plants to supply electricity to residents in remote areas who currently experience regular power shortages.

The company, a joint subsidiary of Russian energy giants Rusnano and Renova, plans to construct 500 MW of solar power plants by the end of 2020. Hevel has recently commissioned the Kosh-Agach solar power plant in the Altai Republic and is also building large solar facilities in the republics of Buryatia and Bashkortostan as well as in the Orenburg and Saratov regions and elsewhere in Russia.

The solar energy developer has also announced it is expanding the generating capacity of a solar plant currently under construction in the Rostov region from 30 MW to 53 MW. The increase will push up the facility’s price from $48.7 million to $81.2 million, according to Igor Burakov, director general of the Rostov Region Development Agency (RRDA).

“We believe that solar development prospects are good in the region and considering the projected higher demand for generation, the company has decided to expand the project,” the RRDA head said.

Among the region’s advantages are high solar irradiation, inexpensive land, available power grid engineering structures and a cheap workforce, Burakov said.

Agreement signed by Hevel and the region authorities foresees installing solar facilities in the region of a combined 30 MW capacity.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Kemerovo Region announced its first solar power plant.

A 21 kW solar facility will be supplying electricity to the population in the remote settlements of Elbeza and Tashtagolsk.

Another four solar installations able to supply electric power to other 48 far-flung settlements are to be added in the near future, according to Aman Tulejev, the governor of Kemerovo Region.