China Solar Power Enters Thin Film Solar Module Market, Forms Alliance With ULVAC Of Japan

October 30, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

Tano China Capital Management, Inc. (TCCMI), announced the signing of a three-way strategic alliance between its affiliates China Solar Power (Holdings) Ltd. (CSP), Tano China Private Equity Fund II (TCPEF II) and ULVAC Inc. of Japan. With the establishment of this strategic alliance, CSP enters the thin film solar module market in China by partnering with ULVAC, a leading manufacturer of thin film solar cell production lines (Y2.2 billion annual revenue).

The stated goals of the strategic alliance are to both develop CSP into the leading manufacturer of thin film solar modules in China and to enhance ULVAC’s position as a leading provider of thin film photovoltaic (PV) production lines worldwide.

In the second phase of the collaboration, CSP intends to purchase a complete turnkey thin film PV fabrication plant from ULVAC. An extensive search of thin film technologies led CSP to conclude that the world is on the cusp of seeing large-scale, low cost thin film PV manufacturing becoming a profitable growth business. CSP chose this technology and equipment supplier due to what is described as ULVAC’s successful track record in the technologically-similar LCD manufacturing industry, and in the PV industry in Japan, where they are a leading supplier of manufacturing equipment to the world’s largest PV module manufacturers.

CSP plans to build its first plant in Yantai, China to capitalize upon low manufacturing costs, among other benefits, and to establish a presence in what most industry observers expect will become the largest PV market in the world. CSP’s plant, relying upon tandem junction technology, will be among the first and largest of its kind in Asia. The project’s initial two manufacturing lines will initially have a rated annual capacity of 50 MW which is expected to be upgraded to 64 MW within a short time.

CSP expects that this technology’s reliance on abundant, low-cost raw materials, the equipment’s scalability and the manufacturing process’s high yield and reliability will enable it to quickly establish a strong position in the worldwide PV module market.