First Solar announced today (March 18) that Inner Mongolia University of Technology’s (IMUT’s) Team Green Sun will compete in China’s first Solar Decathlon with 13 kilowatts of First Solar’s modules. The company donated the 150 photovoltaic modules to the university and will provide support to the project team as it develops its project.
Solar Decathlon China 2013 is China’s first Solar Decathlon and is modeled on the Department of Energy’s popular Solar Decathlons, which have been taking place in the U.S. since 2002 and now take place on a biennial basis. Europe launched its first Solar Decathlon in 2010. Now China, through a DOE partnership with China’s National Energy Administration, will become the third host for a Decathlon event. Its event takes place in Datong, China, and starts in August 2013. The event will host 22 teams from around the world, including 13 from China.
Team Green Sun’s home is based on the classic yurt design. The yurt, in China and particularly in its more rural regions, is a tent-like habitat indigenous to Inner Mongolia and other parts of Central Asia. However, such structures are now built the world over, including in the U.S., where they have been built as more permanent structures, akin to cabins.
The IMUT project will address energy issues common in the Inner Mongolian region. Such issues include lack of a comprehensive power grid, water shortages and high heating demands. The team consists of 21 graduate and undergraduate students from various majors, including energy and power engineering, architecture, civil engineering and management. “We are proud to support IMUT’s Team Green Sun in bringing cost-effective and energy-efficient technology to the region,” said Bruce Yung, First Solar’s Managing Director and Vice President of Business Development for China.
First Solar has focussed on the China market in the past and has partnered with companies there to expand its presence. In 2011 it partnered with China Power International New Energy Holding Ltd. to develop a 2 gigawatt PV project and This past December it partnered with China’s Zhenfa New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. to provide 2 megawatts of its PV modules to Zhenfa's approved solar projects in Xinjiang province. “China represents a very important market for First Solar,” Yung said. “The fact that this year’s Solar Decathlon is being held here is reflective of the government’s commitment to developing the solar industry to meet interlinking economic, energy and environmental goals.”
This is the third time First Solar has supported the Solar Decathlon competitions. It’s modules were used in Ohio State University’s 2011 Solar Decathlon house, for instance. “First Solar strives to give back to the communities in which we operate. We are eager to share our expertise with students in the industry around the world so that we can help cultivate new and creative ideas in our future leaders,” said Jim Brown, First Solar’s Executive Vice President of Global Business Development. “First Solar supports China’s sustainable development and the Chinese government’s commitment to the solar energy industry at the national and provincial levels,” he said.