Astronergy & Bosch Announce Major Solar Expansions

August 24, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Astronergy and Oerlikon Solar jointly announced a follow-up purchase agreement for Oerlikon Solar’s thin film equipment. With this order, Astronergy will increase its production capacity from 30MW to 75 MW by the end of 2010. The purchase is a key element in the expansion plan of Astronergy’s thin film solar PV modules of up to 400MW in the near future.

As the first large-scale manufacturer of high-efficiency tandem-junction Amorphous and Micromorph® thin film modules in mainland China, Astronergy has been able to offer its products to customers in varied regions for a wide variety of applications, including a façade on its headquarters building in Hangzhou.

"By focusing our efforts on thin film products and diligently working to strengthen our core competencies, we will maintain our reputation as a first-class PV enterprise. We are highly confident that continued collaboration will enable both of our companies to extend our leadership in the thin film solar industry," said Dr. Liyou Lang, CEO of Astronergy.

The expanded capacity will incorporate new module materials and the latest innovations in thin film technology into the production process. The agreement details an expansion plan that will bring Astronergy’s total thin film module capacity to at least 75MW by early 2011, as the first phase of a 400 MW thin film expansion plan.

Bosch Solar Energy AG has formally opened its new crystalline solar cell production plant, the first phase in the extension of its solar production facilities in Arnstadt, Thuringia. The new production facilities will enable Bosch to provide extra capacity of 10,000 cells an hour, which works out to around 90 million solar cells a year. That is the equivalent of the total output required to supply all private households in the nearby city of Erfurt with its population of just over 200,000.

In addition to cells, the new, 12,000 square-meter plant also includes part of the wafer production. Thus, with the completion of this facility Bosch Solar Energy achieved the first step towards an integrated factory which will unite all steps in the production process – from silicon ingots to finished modules. Another important move towards an integrated cell and module production will be the completion of the module production facility next door over the coming months.

"We will thus cover the complete crystalline value creation chain down to the basic material of polysilicon. This not only guarantees optimum performance and quality from our products, but also enables us to leverage cost reduction and technology potential far more effectively," says Holger von Hebel, Chief Executive at Bosch Solar Energy AG.

With this new plant, Bosch Solar Energy AG is looking to almost triple its nominal capacity to around 630MW peak and thus provide a major boost to its growth strategy. The expansion of its facilities will be completed next year when the research and development center and the new main administrative building are finished.

Bosch will have invested around €530 million in this location by 2012.