5 January 2010


Ritek invests $24.8m more in CIGS joint venture PVNext

Taipei-based Ritek Corp, Taiwan’s second biggest optical disc maker, has made an additional investment of NT$800m (US$24.8m) to increase its stake to 40% in Taiwan-based PVNext Corp, its 50:50 joint venture formed in October 2008 with crystalline silicon solar cell maker Scheuten Solar Holding BV of Venlo, The Netherlands.

PVNext is based on Ritek’s technology for making copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules, and is headed by Ritek’s CEO Gordon Yeh. The strategic alliance with Sheuten aimed to allow Ritek more active involvement in developing photovoltaics through expanded production of solar cells.

The additional investment is being made because PVNext is issuing new shares to raise extra paid-in capital of NT$2bn, says Ritek.

Previously, in late July, the National Development Fund of the Taiwan Cabinet (the central government’s venture capital arm, which is used to promote the development of target industries) invested NT$500m (US$15.3m) in 20 million new shares issued by PVNext (at NT$25 per share). This represents a 28.59% stake (shrinking the stakes of Scheuten and Ritek to 42.26% and 23.15%, respectively). This is the fund’s first investment in solar cells since announcing support for Taiwan’s green-energy sector last April. Proceeds were put towards enhancing PVNext’s module manufacturing by procuring production equipment. PVNext has since completed installation of all CIGS equipment.

At October’s PV Taiwan 2009 event, Ritek launched Taiwan’s first 600mm x 1200mm CIGS thin-film PV modules, which have an energy-conversion efficiency of 17% (the highest achieved in Taiwan so far, it is claimed, and close to the 20% of monocrystalline silicon). In early December, Ritek said that PVNext had achieved pilot production. PVNext plans to start volume production in first-quarter 2010, with initial annual output capacity of 30MW.

See related item:

Ritek launches CIGS PV modules at CES

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