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18 August 2008


Solar Thin Films to establish a-Si solar module plant

Solar Thin Films Inc (STF) of Dix Hills, NY,USA, which provides equipment and turnkey production facilities for manufacturing thin-film amorphous silicon (a-Si) photovoltaic modules, has signed an agreement with Ulster County, New York, to establish its first amorphous silicon solar module manufacturing plant in the USA. The accord was negotiated with Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Ulster County officials, and representatives from the Ulster County Development Corporation (UCDC) and The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC).

The firm will use machinery produced by equipment design & manufacturing subsidiary Kraft Electronikai Srt. of Budapest, Hungary (which STF acquired in 2006). It expects the plant to be able to accommodate six lines of equipment capable of producing 36MW of module power.

Solar Thin Films will also use the new site for research into the enhancement of amorphous silicon module efficiency as well as the development of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic panels. Previously, in January 2007, STF signed a three-year strategic cooperative R&D agreement for Renewable Energy Solutions Inc (RESI) of Ewing, NJ, USA to design and develop manufacturing equipment and turnkey facilities for CIGS-based thin-film PV modules.

The new facility should create a ‘substantial number’ of new jobs in Ulster County over the next five years. “Today we take another enormous step forward in our goal of establishing the Hudson Valley and all of New York as a national and international hub for solar R&D,” said Congressman Hinchey. He also welcomed Solar Thin Films into The Solar Energy Consortium (an industry-led not-for-profit organization formed in June 2007 and based in Hudson Valley whose aims are to meet New York state and national demand for energy independence and sustainability).

“TSEC and the Ulster County Development Corporation have assisted Solar Thin Films in finding an appropriate factory site, have assisted us in satisfying our financial needs and have been instrumental in forging potential power partnerships with local utilities,” says chairman Robert Rubin.

Solar Thin Films says that it will apply for a $10m industrial development bond with the assistance of the UCDC to aid the purchase of equipment. The firm says that it will ultimately invest about $60m in the manufacturing and research of components.

See related items:

Thin film to take 28% of PV market by 2012

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

Solar Thin Films collaborates with RESI to develop CIGS PV manufacturing equipment

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