Suniva, the Atlanta,Georgia-based silicon solar cell maker, has signed a long-term agreement to supply Solon, Europe’s largest solar photovoltaic module manufacturer, with its monocrystalline silicon solar cells.
The contract extends through 2012, during which time Suniva will deliver more than $500m (£257m) worth of cells to the German company.
Suniva will produce and ship the solar cells to Solon from its new manufacturing facility in metro Atlanta. Suniva’s plant has a preliminary capacity of 32MW on one manufacturing line, with additional lines planned to add more than 130MW of additional capacity over the next two years.
Suniva has an exclusive license to critical patents and patent-pending intellectual property developed by founder and CTO, Dr Ajeet Rohatgi, at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics.
The company’s so-called ARTisun series solar cells are made of polysilicon, which is created by refining sand or quartz. After being refined and ‘grown’ into extremely pure monocrystalline ingots, the ingots are carefully sliced into very thin wafers.
Suniva’s customers, such as Solon, typically use the ARTisun cells to make solar modules (also known as solar panels). These modules are made by packaging and connecting a series of solar cells together in a maintenance free frame, with a clear protective face or cover.
Multiple modules can be placed on rooftops, in arrays and in ‘farms’ to generate power for residential and industrial applications as well as for utilities.