Solar Frontier sells 20 MW Californian project, to develop new 16.5 MW Japanese plant

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The world’s largest CIS module manufacturer and project developer, Solar Frontier, will partner with the Taiyo Oil Company, to develop a 16.5 MW solar plant in the Yamaguchi Prefecture, in Japan’s southwest. Yaiyo Oil will lease land for the project and assist with project management. The Development Bank of Japan is investing in the project.

The three companies have established a joint company, SDT Solar Power, for development and management purposes; with Solar Frontier also due to supply a specialist team to provide O&M services once the plant is operational. Construction of the project is due to begin later in 2016, with an aim to get the site operational and producing 20,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year in 2017.

Solar Frontier’s teaming with a Japanese oil company should come as no surprise, as it has long links to Shell’s Japanese subsidiary, Showa Shell.

News of the Japanese project was released yesterday, one day after Solar Frontier Americas, the company’s U.S. subsidiary, announced the sale of its Calipatria solar power generation plant to Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. The plant, in Imperial County, California, is constructed with roughly 130,000 CIS modules and is expected to generate enough solar energy to supply approximately 5,000 US homes annually, once it is completed later in 2016.

Construction on the project is currently underway, having commenced in August 2015. Depcom Power is the EPC on the project.

The powerhouse investment partnership of Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy has now acquired nine solar projects with a combined capacity of over 340 MW operating or under development. The two forged a strategic alliance in 2010 to develop renewable energy projects in the US.

Southern Power says that the acquisition is a part of its strategy to expand its wholesale power business.

"The acquisition of the Calipatria Solar Facility is an important effort to further develop clean, renewable energy through this outstanding partnership," said Ted Turner, the owner of Turner Renewable Energy. "We are pleased to continue growing the solar portfolio in collaboration with Southern Company."

Solar Frontier Americas says that Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy’s acquisition of the project demonstrates market confidence in its CIS technology. Solar Frontier thin film modules do contain gallium, and is therefore technically a CIGS semiconductor stack.