Chinese producer of thin film silicon solar modules Tianwei upgrades its capacity to 75 MW.
Trübbach (Switzerland) [WorldofRenewables.com]
Oerlikon Solar today announced that its customer Baoding Tianwei Solar Films, Ltd. (Tianwei) has placed an upgrade order to increase its production capacity of thin film silicon solar modules from 46 megawatts (MW) amorphous technology to 75 MW Micromorph® technology. “We chose to invest in Oerlikon Solar’s Micromorph® technology because Micromorph® enables 30 percent higher module power than other thin film silicon technologies, and offers lower module manufacturing costs,” says Ma Wenxue, General Manager of Tianwei. “This upgrade from Tianwei, demonstrates the competitiveness and innovative advantage of our thin film silicon technology. We will continue to consistently implement our technology roadmap to further strengthen our position in the solar market,” says Michael Buscher, CEO of Oerlikon Group.
Tianwei’s capacity expansion comes at a time when the global photovoltaic market (PV) is growing faster than ever. Analyst firm iSuppli predicts the worldwide PV market will surpass 13 gigawatts (GW) in 2010, which is almost twice the size of the market in 2009. The growth is occurring despite reduction of government incentives in key markets, which demonstrates the competitiveness of low-cost crystalline and low-cost thin film technology. Oerlikon Solar’s manufacturing solutions provide its customers with a production cost that is comparable to industry cost leaders so that these customers are positioned to offer competitive cost of electricity ($/kWh), and capitalize on the accelerating market growth that will occur as PV energy reaches grid parity.
Over the past years, Oerlikon Solar has made impressive progress on its technology roadmap as it looks to drive down the cost of solar technology. It has achieved more than 50 percent reduction in cost of ownership since 2008. The company is on track to achieve $0.70/W by the end of 2010 with further reduction potential in order to position solar power to be directly competitive with other renewable energy sources, and even conventional energy in growing portions of world energy markets.
“Oerlikon Solar has an established track record of providing the lowest cost of ownership, fastest time to deployment, and the highest reliability in the thin film solar market. With Oerlikon Solar as our continued partner, we trust to reach completion of our planned capacity expansion projects on schedule enabling us to provide higher-quality products with superior module efficiency resulting in lowest cost of electricity. The upgrade will start in January 2011 and will be finalized and ready for mass production by March 2011”, states Ma from Tianwei.
“In the competitive solar manufacturer’s environment, it is a very strong endorsement for Oerlikon Solar to have a customer like Tianwei continue to invest in our cadmium-free, non-toxic thin film silicon technology,” says Jurg Henz, CEO of Oerlikon Solar.
Oerlikon (SIX: OERL) is a leading high-tech industrial group specializing in machine and plant engineering. The Company is a provider of innovative industrial solutions and cutting-edge technologies for textile manufacturing, thin-film coating, drive, vacuum, solar energy systems and advanced nanotechnology. A Swiss company with a tradition going back 150 years, Oerlikon is a global player with around 16,000 employees at over 150 locations in 36 countries and sales of CHF 2.9 billion in 2009. The Company invests more than CHF 200 million annually in R&D, with over 1,200 specialists working on future products and services. The operative businesses rank either first or second in their respective global markets.
About Oerlikon Solar
Oerlikon Solar designs and manufactures field-proven equipment and end-to-end manufacturing lines for the mass production of environmentally sustainable thin film silicon solar modules. With its amorphous and high-efficiency Micromorph® tandem technology, Oerlikon has dramatically increased the efficiency of thin film silicon and created innovative end-to-end manufacturing solutions for thin film PV, enabling new entrants in the fast-growing, global PV manufacturing business. Oerlikon Solar leads the thin film solar equipment sector with 12 factories in production in seven countries, more than 2.5 million modules produced and 450 MW of capacity produced worldwide.
Oerlikon Solar has Micromorph® patents dating back to 1993, was the first to integrate the high-efficiency Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) layer, and the first to commercialize the high-efficiency Micromorph® process and support the majority of its customers in migrating to it. To date it is the only proven end-to-end Micromorph® solution available on the market, offering lowest cost of electricity $/kWh, and proving highest future cost reduction potential.
Oerlikon Solar thin film silicon modules are produced with non-toxic materials, and they are ideal for semi-transparent glass and other building-integrated PV (BIPV) applications. Thin film modules perform well in diffuse or lower light, and are best suited for high temperature climates. Its production lines are complete systems, yet modular and upgradeable, so customers have the capability to scale up rapidly with the latest technology to meet fast-growing demand for solar PV, demand that will accelerate as the cost of PV energy approaches grid parity.
Oerlikon Solar is headquartered in Switzerland, has about 700 employees in 13 locations worldwide, a number of factories in production around the globe and maintains sales and service centers in the USA, Europe, China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Japan.