Solar Frontier announced its decision to construct a CIS solar module plant (provisional name: Tohoku Plant) with nominal production capacity of 150 MW in the Tohoku region of Japan. This will be Solar Frontier’s fourth manufacturing facility following its three plants in Miyazaki. The Tohoku Plant will be located at Ohiramura in Miyagi Prefecture and is scheduled to start production in March 2015.
The Tohoku Plant will leverage Solar Frontier’s latest mass-production technology, incorporating advanced features that increase manufacturing process efficiencies. This will enable the manufacture of high-performance CIS solar modules at higher conversion efficiencies and world-class cost levels. The Tohoku Plant will also serve as a blueprint for future manufacturing facilities outside of Japan, in line with worldwide demand growth and Solar Frontier’s mid-term plans to build future plants outside of Japan.
Solar Frontier plans to invest about 13 billion yen (approximately US$125 millions) to build the plant, including a Domestic Business Promotion Grant from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), a Miyagi Business Promotion Grant from Miyagi Prefecture, and a promotion subsidy from Ohiramura for the entry of new enterprises. Products manufactured at the Tohoku Plant will be intended mainly for sales in the local region.
Hiroto Tamai, President and Representative Director at Solar Frontier, highlighted the importance of the new plant for Solar Frontier’s future growth plans and as part of the economic revitalization of the Tohoku region. “By extending new mass-production technologies proven at the Tohoku Plant to manufacturing and sales outside of Japan, Solar Frontier will establish itself as a strong global player,” stated Tamai. “And by constructing the Tohoku Plant, Solar Frontier will help to revitalize the Tohoku economy, through collaboration with local industries and the creation of new jobs.”
Solar Frontier now has GW-scale manufacturing capacity, including one of the world’s largest plants, the Kunitomi Plant, which opened in 2011 in Miyazaki, Japan. Its production processes are much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than those used to manufacture crystalline silicon modules. Solar Frontier has also developed products including the thin, lightweight Solacis neo module from its 60MW MP2 factory, its CrossOne installation system for rooftop applications, and its optimized utility-scale systems. In R&D, Solar Frontier achieves a conversion efficiency of 19.7% with a cadmium-free thin-film solar cell (approx. 0.5 cm^2). The construction of 150 MW CIS solar module Tohoku Plant with latest mass-production technologies indicate its next step toward global growth.