First Solar, Inc. will showcase its game-changing new Series 5 thin film photovoltaic (PV) module at Intersolar 2016. This will mark the first time that the module, which features a form factor that is similar to a conventional crystalline silicon (c-Si) panel, will be on display in Europe.
The next generation 365-watt solar module, which is 1.85 meters high and 1.2 meters wide, will be available in Europe by the third quarter of 2017. It builds on the performance and reliability of First Solar’s currently available Series 4 product. The glass-glass Series 5 module features an integrated steel dual-back mounting rail assembly which reduces Balance of System (BOS) costs and installation times. First Solar’s high performance thin film modules already offer several performance and reliability advantages over c-Si panels.
“The Series 5 module offers all the benefits of First Solar’s high performance thin film technology, in a convenient form factor. The module is designed with the customer’s needs in mind, offering world-class reliability and performance at competitive prices,” said Christopher Burghardt, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Europe. “We believe that the new module will shatter the myth that low cost solar cannot be delivered with high performance technology. In fact, we firmly believe that this module and its future iterations will play a significant role in driving forward Europe’s energy transition.”
The module’s low labor requirements make it ideal for markets with high labor costs, such as Europe; the modules can be installed either manually by two people or mechanically. First Solar currently has an installed capacity of over 4 gigawatts (GW) in Europe.
“Our new Series 5 module is a direct response to industry needs. Power plant owners, operators, developers, and EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) companies will find immediate value in our Series 5 offering,” said Karim Asali, First Solar’s Technical Director for Europe. “Eliminating the need for clips by using a back-rail, and the new form factor will lead to significantly reduced Balance of Systems (BOS) costs to a point there’ll be a negligible difference between First Solar modules and conventional crystalline silicon panels. And with the reduced installation labor costs and fewer electrical connections per Watt compared to the company’s current modules, the full advantage becomes quite clear.”
First Solar will also showcase its comprehensive Energy Services offering – a suite of products designed to fit the needs of utility-scale power plant owners and operators – at Intersolar. Each solution addresses a specific business model, from owners looking for turnkey operations and maintenance (O&M), to organizations who self-perform O&M but need the technology to improve efficiency and fleet performance. Visitors will also be able to experience First Solar’s state-of-the-art Operations Center.