1 February 2010


centrotherm produces its first CIGS PV modules at Taiwanese customer

centrotherm photovoltaics AG of Blaubeuren, Germany, which provides equipment for the production of solar silicon, crystalline solar cells and copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic modules, says that its Thin Film division has produced its first CIGS thin-film PV modules on a turnkey production line, for a Taiwanese customer that is entering the thin-film market with its first turnkey line.

Designed and installed for a capacity of about 30MW, the production line in Taiwan consists of 60 machines extending over a total distance of 400m. A team of about 20 process engineers operates jointly with the customer on location. The target is for full productivity, with an average efficiency of 10%, to be achieved by the end of 2010. With a surface area of 1.5m 2, the modules being produced are currently the largest in mass production, it is claimed.

centrotherm photovoltaics says that it is backing CIGS technology as it offers the best prospects of achieving the highest efficiencies in thin-film mass production. Compared with other thin-film technologies, the production process also dispenses with the use of toxic process gases. “Our strength, which consists of combining technology and process know-how, is also evident in our turnkey concept for CIGS modules,” claims chief technology officer Dr Peter Fath. “It is distinguished by technically simple industrial process management, with which we enable our customers to achieve cost-efficient production along with competitive efficiencies.”

Production costs significantly below €1 per Watt-peak are conceivable in thin-film mass production in the future, reckons the firm. “We believe that it [CIGS] will be a medium-term winner, also compared with the business in the crystalline cell area, which is currently significantly stronger,” Fath stresses. However, centrotherm photovoltaics does not yet anticipate a strong increase in demand this year. “Falling costs for crystalline cells are raising the benchmark higher,” Fath cautions. “Thin-film technology still has a lot of catching up to do by comparison.”

In addition to the Taiwanese customer, in February 2009 centrotherm said that Germany’s Illies Renewables had ordered a 50MW product line worth more than €60m for its factory in Magdeburg-Rothensee, for delivery in first-half 2010.

See related item:

Centrotherm receives €60m order for CIGS thin-film PV production line

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