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13 August 2012

South African CIGS spin-off PTIP orders €7m of equipment from partner Singulus

Singulus Technolgies AG of Kahl am Main, Germany, which makes production equipment for the Optical Disc and Solar sectors, says that Photovoltaic Technology Intellectual Property (Pty) Ltd (PTIP), its long-term cooperation partner for the development of more efficient copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar modules, has extended its CIGS activities by ordering several of its systems (worth more than €7m) for vacuum coating, selenization and wet-chemical processes.

PTIP is a spin-off from South Africa’s University of Johannesburg and already operates research machines for CIGS solar cell development in its newly established R&D facility in Techno Park close to Stellenbosch. Singulus has cooperated with scientists at the university for some years and had already delivered components in 2011. Various companies are currently using PTIP’s R&D results and patents worldwide. The activities as well as results have already been presented by PTIP in April as part of the opening in Cape Town of the ‘German-South Africa Year of Science’, for which ‘Climate Change’ is one of the core themes.

PTIP intends to further expand the research facilities in Stellenbosch and to commission a development and laboratory line for CIGS modules in the original commercial size of 1200mm x 600mm. The development efforts are a focus of the South African government. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) recently supported the expansion of PTIP’s operations in Techno Park, acquiring substantial shareholding in PTIP. Additional financial support was obtained from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology.

“The support by the IDC and TIA confirms the goal of the South African government to support locally developed IP and to boost alternative and renewable energies, such as photovoltaic,” says PTIP’s CEO professor Vivian Alberts. “With this support PTIP is now in the position to invest in proven and well engineered equipment and process plants. We are now able to industrially and efficiently implement our developed process with the machines of our partner Singulus,” he adds. “The goal is to set up a production line for CIGS thin-film modules in South Africa as soon as possible.” The European Investment Bank has already announced €40m of support for the project.

“We are pleased to have already supplied four important process steps in a CIGS line, namely vacuum coating, selenization as well as two process steps in the wet-chemical area,” says Singulus’ CEO Dr Stefan Rinck. “PTIP’s trust is based on the excellent R&D results from the start, which were achieved with our equipment,” he adds. “We expect this to also translate to additional expansion stages.”

Tags: Singulus CIGS/CIS PV


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