The Schmid Group recently signed a contract with the Argentinean province of San Juan, Energia Provincial Sociedad del Estado (EPSE) for the construction of a fully integrated factory for monocrystalline silicon ingot to module production.
A second stage is planned for the extension to the upstream polysilicon production. The main reason for the order of the Argentinean state-owned company to the German photovoltaic equipment provider Schmid were especially its long experience in project management, process development , plant design, production and worldwide service.
Schmid is general contractor to built the facility including infrastructure in the provincial capital San Juan and is going to supply advanced production equipment mainly from its own portfolio. The systems are optimized to produce high-efficiency solar cells at low cost of ownership.
Equipment highlights are, for example, the high-quality wafer -cleaning, which removes all organic residues and thus forms the basis for efficient cells, as well as the TinPad system , which lowers the cost of cell production by the use of tin instead of silver for the manufacture of rear side contacts and also improves cell performance. This equipment makes the San Juan factory the leading-edge integrated photovoltaic production in the whole American continent.
The facility has an annual capacity of 70 MW for glass/film modules that come into operation amongst others for the energy supply of the gold and copper mines as well as the irrigation systems in San Juan. In addition, the supply of the Argentinean market and other Mercosur countries is planned. So far, the power demand of, for example, San Juan mines in 4000m for 20,000 workers, machinery and infrastructure must be covered by diesel generators. Also the high power demand of the artificial irrigation in the extremely arid region (80 mm of precipitation per year) is going to be met with solar power in the future.
The province of San Juan has been a leader in photovoltaics in Argentina. Here the first grid-connected PV power plants in the country have been installed. The conditions are ideal, with an annual solar radiation of 2,300 kWh per m². EPSE therefore is going to develop the region’s electricity supply consistently to an ideal energy mix with high PV share. The construction of the integrated photovoltaic production is currently one of the most important projects for the province and is also supported by the Argentine government, whose president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, together with the Governor of the Province of San Juan, José Luis Gioja was present personally at the contract signing ceremony.
Christian Schmid, President of Schmid Group, presented at the ceremony a gift certificate for a vanadium redox flow battery of the latest generation to enable EPSE to store the energy of the first produced PV modules for nighttime use.
The Schmid Group is currently producing the first own battery systems with the durable, powerful vanadium redox flow technology. The scalable system allows for residential applications and especially for the use of municipal utility providers as well as power plant operators.