Oerlikon Solar Expands Position In Asian-Pacific & European Markets With New Orders For Thin-Film Solar Module Production Lines

December 26, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

Oerlikon Solar, a global supplier of automated solar manufacturing solutions for mass production of solar modules, announced that it has been awarded contracts with Taiwan’s Auria Solar Co. Ltd. and Italy’s Pramac SpA for 60 MWp and 30 MWp thin-film solar module production lines, respectively. Together with these new contracts Oerlikon has added more than 600 million CHF in orders for solar equipment this year.

The production lines include Oerlikon Solar’s micromorph tandem technology that combines two different silicon materials – amorph and microcrystalline – which is said to boost energy conversion efficiency levels by up to 50% compared to traditional amorphous single cells.

The Auria Solar agreement marks Oerlikon Solar’s second major contract in Taiwan in 2007, and will boost Taiwanese production capacity to 100 MWp. The Pramac order is the company’s first contract that involves both Italy and Switzerland. Pramac’s manufacturing location will be in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, marking the first time Oerlikon Solar’s manufacturing technology will be producing in Switzerland.

The Oerlikon Solar production line enables the manufacture of thin-film silicon modules. This turnkey, end-to-end solution embraces the entire production process, from glass cleaning and in-line inspection to testing of the finished solar modules. Another differentiating element is that Oerlikon Solar will provide its full-service package for commissioning the process equipment and securing production ramp-up as efficiently as possible. Both of these agreements also include the company’s entire metrology system for quality control, the "back end" of module production and its proprietary process technology. Of critical importance are the Oerlikon Solar proprietary TCO layers that play a central role by trapping the light in the photovoltaic thin-film, maximizing the conversion efficiency. These capabilities are said to enhance the performance of the solar modules and directly reduce the cost-per-watt peak.

"There is a rapidly growing demand from our customers for solar modules. This requires innovative and proven technology, turnkey capabilities and customer service that will enable us to increase production as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Dr. Tsai, CEO of Auria Solar. "Oerlikon Solar offers the strongest combination of these qualities and has consistently demonstrated the capability to deliver systems on time."

"We made this important investment because we firmly believe in renewable energy, and because it is still a very young market and that will enable us to grow significantly," said Paolo Campinoti, Pramac’s managing director. "The new technology we are offering will provide lower costs and higher yields than the traditional system. In our view, this is an important step in the direction of our company’s natural development, and a further confirmation that we are keeping the promises we made at the time of the initial public offering."