16 September 2010


TSMC breaks ground on thin-film solar R&D center and fab

After approval by its board of directors just on 10 August for an investment of US$319.6m in its first LED and solar production facilities (US$101.6m for LEDs and $218m for thin-film photovoltaic modules), Hsinchu-based Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd (the world largest silicon IC manufacturing foundry) has broken ground at a 5.2 hectare site in Taichung’s Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) on its Thin Film Solar R&D Center and Fab. The development lays the foundation for TSMC’s entry into the thin-film photovoltaic (PV) market.

After entering the solar sector by purchasing a 20% stake in silicon solar cell maker Motech Industries Inc in January and subsequently becoming that firm's largest shareholder, in June TSMC invested $50m to acquire a 21% stake in US copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic cell firm Stion in exchange for a license on its CIGS cell technology.

“TSMC's New Businesses team has reached many important milestones since it was formed last year, first with our LED facility in Hsinchu,” says TSMC’s chairman & CEO Dr Morris Chang. “Our solar and LED businesses will not only bolster TSMC’s revenue and profit growth in the coming decades, they also play a key role in TSMC's corporate social responsibility by making products that support a greener earth,” he added. “Construction of this solar R&D center and fab, along with our Fab 15 Gigafab next to it, means Taichung’s Central Taiwan Science Park will become home to much of TSMC's most advanced and innovative production,” he points out.

“The research performed at this R&D center will help us achieve our goal of offering a leading thin-film solution and the production at this fab, drawing on TSMC's wealth of manufacturing know-how, will pave the way for us to become a top provider of solar PV modules,” believes Dr Rick Tsai, TSMC’s president of New Businesses.

With a building area of 110,000m2 and a production area of 78,000m2, TSMC plans to invest US$258m for the first phase of the Thin Film Solar R&D Center and Fab, which is scheduled for equipment move-in in second-quarter 2011 and achieve initial volume production of 200MW per year in thin-film photovoltaic modules in 2012.

TSMC also plans to add a second phase to the facility and expand production to more than 700MW, employing about 2000 staff in total. In addition, the R&D center will continue to develop the CIGS technology licensed from Stion. TSMC will offer its solar products worldwide under its own brand.

See related items:

Stion licenses CIGSS technology to TSMC

TSMC breaks ground on LED fab

Search: TSMC Thin-film solar CIGS


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