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US solar firm commissions CIGS array in Korea and agrees supply deal

Low-cost thin-film PV powers innovative green agriculture application

International Solar Electric Technology will supply printed thin-film CIGS
International Solar Electric Technology (ISET) will supply printed thin-film CIGS modules to power indoor farming systems

US company International Solar Electric Technology (ISET) is to supply printed thin-film copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) modules to K&K Solar, a Korean EPC provider. The modules will be used to power indoor LED farming systems, the US firm said.

Under a contract from the Gyeongbuk provincial government, a turnkey system using a CIGS array from ISET was also commissioned in November, with commercial availability for the modular platform beginning from February, ISET said. According to K&K Solar the LED produce cabinet and PV array can be installed in one day and is easy to expand.

PV use for indoor farming means growing times are accelerated by optimal management of light and water to produce stronger, healthier crops with time-to-market of nearly 50 per cent compared to conventional outdoor farming, according to both companies.

“Additional sustainability advantages include 90 per cent reduction of water consumption, lower total energy consumption, compact footprint, and zero use of pesticides”, the firms said.

Vincent Kapur, ISET’s director of manufacturing said the company’s modules are “a great fit” for applications such as this, with high energy yield providing direct value to the economic productivity of the system.

“We are able to provide a cost-efficient PV module design that maximizes battery charging efficiency under prevailing Korean climate conditions,” he added. “The most rewarding aspect of this collaboration is that we have reintroduced the sun as the source of light for the crops, maximising the sustainability of the system for the end user.”

ISET is a privately held corporation based in California and manufactures copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells using a patented ink-printing process.