Nanosolar, Inc. said on April 28 that it signed supply contracts with partners in Germany to supply up to 1 gigawatts of its Nanosolar Utility Panels, the first large-scale sales of its products. The modules will be supplied over the next few years as the company scales up production of its modules.
California-based Nanosolar signed agreements with Belectric of Kolitzheim, Germany; EDF Energies Nouvelles of Paris, France; and Plain Energy of Munich, Germany.
“We are currently shipping panels, and in construction with Energies Nouvelles on a 3-megawatt plant in Bordeaux, France,” said a spokesperson for Nanosolar, who asked that we not use his name.
Nanosolar is a manufacturer of CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenium)-based thin-film photovoltaics using a nanoparticle ink. The panels are unique in that they’re basically printed onto reels of aluminum, much like printing a newspaper or magazine.
Last year the company announced its first 1 megawatt solar farm in Luckenwalde, Germany.
The company is starting to ramp-up production now, and plans to have 115 megawatts of annual module production capacity online by the fall and double production capacity each year after that. It will continue to expand until it meets market needs, he said.
A key benefit of Nanosolar’s printing-production is that it uses much less material and energy than processing silicon photovoltaics and other thin-film photovoltaics, reducing the cost per watt price of solar.
“Many solar technologies and thin-film technologies are forecasting their production costs based on large volumes of production—usually in the gigawatts. Nanosolar's unique printing technology allows it to hit low cost targets at just hundreds of megawatts of production. This means lower costs sooner and with less volume,” he said.
The cost reductions could be dramatic.
“Nanosolar is targeting below $1.00 per watt by the end of this year, making us competitive with silicon,” he said. “We plan to be in the low-80 cents per watt or 70 cents per watt [range] late next year.” And by 2014, the company projects making photovoltaics for less than 60 cents per watt.
The company also is targeting efficiency increases over the next few years. The modules it is now shipping are about 10 percent efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. It projects that it will ship panels that are 12 percent efficient within the next year and by 2014, it will ship modules that are 14 percent efficient.
Pictured: Nanosolar's Luckenwalde power plant.