First Solar has been selected by Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company to supply 5 MW of its thin film solar modules to be part of the largest grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) system in the Middle East. The PV plant is being designed and constructed by Abu Dhabi based solar power system integrator Enviromena Power Systems. Construction has begun and the system is expected to be commissioned and producing power by the end of the second quarter of 2009. This system will supply power to Masdar City the world's most ambitious sustainable development to date with plans to be the world's first carbon-neutral zero waste car-free city powered entirely by renewable energy sources " stated First Solar. The $22 billion Masdar City -- the green city in the desert -- will be home to 50 000 people and 1 500 businesses. First Solar is to supply half of plant's panels. The remaining 5 MW of Masdar's solar power plant will be built from crystalline silicon panels. The supplier is yet to be named.
"While a 5 MW order is small within the context of First Solar the high profile `marquee' nature of this particular project gives it added significance " Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said in a client note according to Reuters. "
When a solar module maker and EPC specialist bags projects in its home market, they are not the only one celebrating. Locally "made" projects often equate to local jobs, which is a much welcome strategy for markets, such as the US and Europe. And possibly now India.
3Sun’s success in South Africa hints at a wider thin-film trend in which the dominant players are cherry-picking the markets they are strongest in.
Heliotrop of France is one of the companies keeping the start-up spirit of CPV alive. Here co-founder and managing director Paul Bellavoine offers his view of the market and why he believes long-term value with research and development, with local industry, is becoming more necessary.