Solar Frontier is the biggest manufacturer of Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaics in the world but thus far the company hasn’t had a large presence in the U.S. market. That’s likely to change now. Earlier this week the company purchased Spanish company Gestamp Solar’s 280 megawatt project pipeline in the U.S.
Overall, Solar Frontier has supplied nearly 3 gigawatts of solar panels to its commercial and utility-scale clients around the world and has created a more vertically integrated model in Japan where it has developed projects. In California it has an 82.5 megawatt solar farm the company said is currently the largest CIGS PV farm in the world. Coincindentally it's headquarters will be in San Francisco.
Charles Pimentel, COO of Solar Frontier Americas, said, “This transaction will uniquely position Solar Frontier and its new world-class team to execute on the 280 MW pipeline, thereby strengthening our global presence and allowing us to better leverage our performance advantages to achieve higher returns for our project investors. This also enables our team to build a more sustainable presence for Solar Frontier in the Americas and will certainly galvanize our existing and future relationships with our partners, suppliers, and end customers.”
Solar Frontier had focused on demand in Japan, which was driven by the country’s efforts to move from nuclear and other fuel sources to renewable energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. However, the company, one of the biggest manufacturers of thin-film PV—the other is U.S.-based First Solar, which makes cadmium telluride-based PV (CadTel)—is now looking further outside its borders.
“The U.S. downstream expansion is part of Solar Frontier’s growth strategy to accelerate our business in key global markets through 2015 and beyond,” said Atsuhiko Hirano, CEO of Solar Frontier, commented. “The company has achieved world-class production costs and delivered exceptional product performance in Japan, a country recognized globally for demanding the highest quality in solar. We plan to bring that same quality and performance to our fully integrated business in the U.S. and the Americas.”
As part of the agreement Gestamp Solar’s U.S. development team will join Solar Frontier’s U.S. subsidiary, Solar Frontier Americas, the companies said. “Solar Frontier’s financial strength and high performance products combined with the experienced development team is sure to enable successful completion of this U.S. pipeline,” said Jorge Barredo Lopez, CEO of Gestamp Solar. “We believe that this vertical integration is a major advantage in future development in the U.S. market.”Tweet