China's Seraphim Solar has announced that their new factory in Jackson, Mississippi will begin to ramp in November. While the company notes that its product lines include high-strength DuraFlex modules, ExBox modules configured with three junction boxes and dual-glass modules, it is not clear which will be manufactured at the facility.
Seraphim produces both mono- and multi-crystalline silicon products, and it is also not clear which will be produced at its Mississippi factory.
This will be the second PV module production facility in the state, joining Stion's thin-film plant in Hattiesburg. Mississippi is the poorest and least-developed state in the nation.
Seraphim currently makes both PV cells and modules in China, and this is their first overseas venture. GTM Research Solar Analyst Jade Jones notes that U.S. module production will enable they company's modules to qualify under the Buy American Act, enabling them to be used in U.S. federal government projects.
Seraphim claims that the factory will have the most intelligent automated production line in the industry. While this claim is difficult to verify, Jones says that she assumes that they Seraphim is not bringing in older equipment from China, but has installed a new, automated production line.
Another ambitious claim by Seraphim is that the factory will have the ability to produce 1 GW of PV modules annually within three years. SolarWorld is the largest module producer in the U.S. and they are not yet at a gigawatt, notes Jones. No U.S. manufacturer that produces crystalline silicon is at that level.
In terms of module durability, Seraphim's claims rest on more secure ground. The company was the first in the industry to pass the TUV SUD ‘Thresher' test, and has also passed the TUV SUD on-site power Measurement Validation program, which measures power output.
Seraphim also plans to begin production at a 600 MW module expansion in China by the end of the year, which when ramped will bring the company's Chinese capacity to 1.1 GW.
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