Solar Frontier's New PV Module as Slim as Smartphone

Jul 25, 2013
Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics
The "Solacis neo" slim module (right) and the "SF170-S" high-output module (left).
The "Solacis neo" slim module (right) and the "SF170-S" high-output module (left).
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A side of the Solacis neo
A side of the Solacis neo
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Panels installed by using the "Cross One Method"
Panels installed by using the "Cross One Method"
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Metal fittings installed by using the method
Metal fittings installed by using the method
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Solar Frontier K.K. announced July 23, 2013, that it will release what it claims is an "CIS-type" photovoltaic (PV) module as thin as a smartphone.

The weight of the module, "Solacis neo," is as light as 8kg, making it easier to install the module on a residential roof. Also, the company developed a method to install the module on a residential roof in a short period of time.

Solar Frontier will start production in October 2013 and shipment in November 2013. In addition, the company announced that it will start to ship the "SF170-S," a high-output (170W) module, in July 2013.

The Solacis neo measures 1,231 x 638 x 6.5mm and is thinner than Apple Inc's iPhone 5 smartphone, which is 7.6mm thick. The output of the module will be 95 to 100W. The conversion efficiency of the 100W module will be 12.7%. At its Miyazaki 2nd Plant in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, Solar Frontier will produce 20MW of the module by the end of 2013 and 100MW of the module by the end of 2014.

On the other hand, the high-output SF170-S module measures 1,257 x 977 x 35mm and weighs 20kg. Its conversion efficiency is 13.8%. Solar Frontier has already started the production of the module, aiming to produce 200MW of the module by the end of 2013 and 400MW of the module by the end of 2014.

The new module installation method is called "Cross One Method." Solar Frontier reduced the numbers of parts and holes made on a roof. Because the time it takes to attach metal fittings and apply waterproof treatment can be drastically reduced, the installation time was reduced from more than six hours (about 377 minutes) to less than four hours (about 232 minutes).