31 December 2010

CIGS PV cell maker AQT announces first customer shipments

AQT Solar of Santa Clara, CA, USA has announced the first shipment of modules containing its copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells. The firm also says that it has shipped cells to several customers and currently has an order backlog of 160MW, about 50MW of which is due in 2011.

AQT says that the first shipment rounds out a year of rapid progress and growth, including opening its fully operational facility in Sunnyvale, CA in August.

The commercial milestone was achieved in just two years and with a little over $20m in funding. The firm says that the rapid path from inception to commercialization validates its ‘CIGS 2.0’ business model as a capitally efficient solution that leverages partnerships to reduce costs and time to market while increasing scalability and bankability. Between revenue and order pre-payments, the firm is now generating cash and focusing on expansion.

AQT uses a proprietary process (allowing continuous in-line production) together with manufacturing platforms that have been field-proven in the hard-disk-drive industry. In early April, AQT announced a strategic partnership with Santa Clara-based Intevac, which designs and makes high-productivity sputtering-based manufacturing systems, to supply its manufacturing equipment to AQT.

As well as using ‘off-the-shelf’ manufacturing equipment from Intevac, the Sunnyvale production line’s modular design also allowed for quick on-site deployment. The site's preparation, build-out, line implementation and qualification, and production initiation was completed in less than eight weeks. AQT says that the small footprint of each highly automated machine provides efficient use of space within the 20,000ft2 facility. The firm can hence scale up the plant to an annual production capacity of 60MW in an area many times smaller than its nearest competitors, it is claimed.

“We set aggressive commercialization goals for 2010 and we achieved them, capped by the delivery of our first customer orders,” says CEO Michael Bartholomeusz. “2011 and 2012 are going to be very important years for AQT as we transition past the inflection point from commercialization to high-volume manufacturing.”

Tags: AQT Solar CIGS PV cells

Visit: www.aqtsolar.com

See Latest IssueRSS Feed