4 February 2012

Manz gives update on CIGSfab at Thin-Film Conference

At PHOTON's 4th Thin-Film Conference in San Francisco last week (on 1 February), engineering firm Manz AG of Reutlingen, Germany, which supplies integrated production lines for crystalline silicon solar cells and thin-film solar modules (as well as lines flat-panel displays), presented the latest advances to its CIGSfab integrated production line for manufacturing copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar modules. This includes achieving increases to module efficiency under mass-production conditions, cutting the capital expenditure required for CIGSfab by nearly a fifth, and reducing the cost of manufacturing modules by 25% since 2010.

“Efficiency, capital expenditures for the equipment, and ongoing production costs - all three criteria help module manufacturers significantly cut their costs per watt,” says founder & CEO Dieter Manz. “And in the current market phase, cutting costs is one of the main keys to a company's success,” he adds. Under the CIGSfab brand name the firm has offered complete turnkey production lines (scalable from an output of 43MW to over 350MW) since 2010.

Analysts forecast that the market for CIGS PV modules will double in the coming three years. Of all the thin-film technologies, CIGS technology has the highest potential to cut costs and increase efficiency, says Manz. As such, the firm’s strategic partner Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, ZSW) in Stuttgart, Germany has already achieved efficiencies of over 20% in the lab. Using the CIGS innovation line that it acquired from Würth Solar GmbH of Schwäbisch Hall in January, Manz manufactured the solar panel that holds the record for the highest efficiency in a mass-produced panel, with an efficiency of 14% (15.1% aperture).

In addition to the complete rights to the technology of the CIGS innovation line, Manz also acquired 118 specialists. The next upgrade to Manz’s CIGS innovation line (installed in Schwäbisch Hall) will be a completely new system for co-deposition developed by Manz Coating. The system allows throughput to be increased by 50%.

Regarding advances to its CIGSfab turnkey lines, Manz is concentrating on cutting materials costs. Since these amount to about half of the costs of manufacturing solar modules, Manz also sees significant potential to help solar power achieve grid parity in this area.

Tags: Manz CIGS PV

Visit: www.manz.com

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