LOS ANGELES, March 5 Power plant builder and
operator MMA Renewable Ventures, on Wednesday said it will
build a solar electric system in Arizona to power a thin-film
solar plant for manufacturer Global Solar.
MMA will finance a 750-kilowatt facility, which will power
Global Solar's Tucson, Arizona manufacturing plant. Global
Solar agreed to buy electricity from MMA for 25 years.
"It's sort of like a marketing tool," Global Solar Chief
Executive Mike Gering said in an interview. "If you came to our
plant, you are going to drive right by 750 kilowatts of our
product that is furnishing energy to us."
Financial terms were not disclosed for the project.
The project will mark the first commercial-scale deployment
of Global Solar's thin-film solar cells made with copper indium
gallium diselenide (CIGS).
Global Solar's solar cells cost less to make than those
made from many rival photovoltaic solar technologies, the
company said, because they do not contain silicon.
Silicon is the key raw material used to make most solar
cells and panels, and prices on it have soared in recent years
as demand for solar projects has taken off.
"We frequently look at technologies that are outside the
box," MMA Renewables' Miriam Serxner, who worked on the Global
Solar deal, said in an interview. "Eventually thin film is
going to be cheap enough that we are going to be able to do
lots of projects with this."
Solon America Corporation will design and install the power
plant, and Global Solar's cells will be incorporated into
modules made by Solon. The plant is expected to begin operation
in the fall of 2008.
According to Global Solar, the project will offset 30,000
tons of carbon dioxide over its expected 25-year lifetime.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by carol Bishopric)