China Solar Power (Holdings) Ltd. (“CSP”), a manufacturer of thin film amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules, today announced that it purchased ThinSilicon, Inc., a leading developer of thin film manufacturing process technology based in Mountain View, CA. No financial terms were disclosed
CSP’s initial manufacturing facility, located in the city of Yantai, China, recently commenced commercial operation. The plant, whose initial configuration will produce a-Si solar panels utilizing production equipment supplied by ULVAC, Inc. of Japan, will have an annual capacity of approximately 32MW once it reaches full production in 2010. The company recently broke ground on its second manufacturing facility, located in Jiangyin, China, and has entered into development and financing agreements with two other Chinese municipalities to build and operate additional production facilities within those cities. Upon completion of manufacturing facilities under construction and currently under development, CSP’s annual production capacity is expected to exceed 500MW, making it by far China’s largest manufacturer of thin film PV modules.
ThinSilicon was founded three years ago and has since developed a unique device and process technology that significantly boosts both panel efficiency and manufacturing throughput. This advanced technology enables modules to convert a greater proportion of the sun’s energy into electricity, allowing thin-film silicon solar modules to approach the efficiency of wafer-based modules at a much lower manufacturing cost.
This will enable installations utilizing these modules to compete directly with grid-produced electricity and thereby help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The world must aggressively embrace solar energy to address its growing energy and environmental challenges,” said Charles E. Johnson, CSP’s Co-Founder and Chairman, and former Co-President of Franklin Templeton Investments. “China Solar Power’s mission is to become a major global, low-cost manufacturer of thin film PV modules. The environmental benefits of thin film technology over traditional mono and polycrystalline silicon are well documented. The acquisition of ThinSilicon will help position us as China’s lowest-cost manufacturer of PV modules, in addition to having the lowest carbon footprint per MW of any PV module manufacturer in China.”
Industry analysts estimate that thin film technology accounted for about 10% of the PV industry’s installed manufacturing capacity in 2008. With the emergence of new entrants and thin film’s inherent cost advantages, thin film’s share of the global PV market is expected to increase to 20 – 25% within the next 3-5 years.
“We’re extremely excited by the opportunity to join forces with China Solar Power,” said Jason Stephens, Co-Founder and principal scientist of ThinSilicon. “China Solar Power’s strong manufacturing foundation in one of the world’s largest PV markets will provide an excellent outlet and greatly accelerate the commercialization of our proprietary process and device technology.”
“This transaction represents a classic combination of Silicon Valley innovation with large-scale, low-cost Chinese manufacturing,” said Frank Liu, Co-Founder and current CEO of CSP. “To sustain our competitive cost advantage, we recognize the need to continually innovate in the R&D lab and on the manufacturing floor. We will remain vigilant in our search for technologies that have the potential to further enhance our low-cost position.”
About China Solar Power:
CSP, founded in 2007, is building several thin film PV manufacturing facilities throughout mainland China, based on a-Si/μc-Si technology.
Its first plant, located in the city of Yantai and utilizing production equipment supplied by ULVAC, Inc. of Japan, commenced commercial operation in October 2009. In August 2009, the Company broke ground on its second manufacturing facility in Jiangyin, China. It has also entered into development and financing agreements with two other Chinese municipalities to build and operate additional production facilities.
Once completed, CSP is expected to have annual production capacity in excess of 500MW, the largest thin film PV module manufacturer in China.
The Company expects to initially sell its modules in the Asian, North American and European markets through direct sales and channel partners.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, China Solar Power (CSP) is a privately-held company. Visit CSP at www.chinasolarcsp.com : .
Contact: Tel (U.S.): +1 650-212-0330，One Franklin Parkway, Building 970, 2 nd Floor, San Mateo, California 94403; Tel (China): +86 21-6248-8877, #94，Lane 468, Wulumuqi N. Road, Shanghai 200040, China.
CSP was founded by Tano China Capital Management, a subsidiary of Tano Capital. Tano Capital is an alternative asset management firm founded in 2004 by Mr. Johnson (formerly co-President of Franklin Templeton Investments and CEO of Templeton Worldwide), that makes private equity investments into rapidly growing private companies in India and China.
Tano Capital currently has offices in Shanghai, Tianjin, Taipei, Mumbai, Mauritius and San Mateo. For more information, please visit our website at www.tanocapital.com : .
ThinSilicon was founded in 2007 to develop a unique PV module manufacturing process technology that boosts efficiency of single and tandem junction amorphous silicon modules. The company recently achieved tandem junction cell efficiency in excess of 12.5%, which translates to approximately 9% at the G5 module level. Its three co-founders met at Stanford University, where they were studying for their PhD in Materials Science.
ULVAC, Inc. was founded in 1952 and is a global supplier of manufacturing equipment to the TFT LCD and solar PV industries.
Headquartered in Chigasaki, Japan, the company generated revenue of approximately $2.5 billion for the year ended June 30 2009. As of October 15, 2009, its market capitalization stood at approximately $1 billion.