Solar Thin Films, Inc. (OTCBB: SLTN), develops, manufactures and markets a complete line of manufacturing equipment for the production of "thin-film" amorphous silicon photovoltaic ("PV") modules, today announced that BudaSolar Ltd. has advised Solar Thin Films that it has entered into an R+D Cooperation Agreement with Bangkok Solar, Co. of Bangkok, Thailand, a major producer of amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules with over 50MW of current capacity. Solar Thin Films ("STF") and its subsidiary Kraft Elektronikai Zrt ("Kraft") have entered into an agreement with the shareholders of BudaSolar, which contemplates that Kraft will acquire 100% of the share capital of BudaSolar in exchange for 49% of the share capital of Kraft. Closing of the transaction is contemplated to occur in July or August 2009.
The goal of the BudaSolar collaboration with Bangkok Solar is to develop a micromorph module with a minimum 8% efficiency using a modified version of batch process technology currently developed, manufactured and marketed by both Kraft and BudaSolar. Both Kraft and BudaSolar believe that this level of performance provided through the inclusion of a microcrystalline layer ("micromorph product") could be of great benefit to potential customers as it is capable of increasing efficiency by as much as 30% percent more than currently available amorphous silicon modules.
"The results of the preliminary experiments we have made for confirmation of the development concept are really very promising," said Dr. István Krafcsik, CTO of BudaSolar, who played a key role in the production and installation of the Bangkok Solar production facility. "Just as the batch process has proved to be the most cost-efficient solution for the production of double junction amorphous silicon modules, so we expect a new modified version of that batch process to be the most cost effective solution for the production of higher efficiency micromorph modules."
The project, which will run through 2010, will also leverage work being completed under a separate contract awarded BudaSolar late in 2008 for micromorph research.
"The advantage of working together with Bangkok Solar is that we gain access to both a production scale environment, to complement our lab work, and are able to work collaboratively with a very experienced manufacturing team with years of experience using the batch process technology," noted Dr. Csaba Dücsõ, BudaSolar's Head of Technology Development.
Mr. Sompong Nakornsri, CEO of Bangkok Solar, stated, "This collaboration is key to the future strategy and profitability of Bangkok Solar. Under current market conditions, increasing the efficiency of our modules in the near future is critical. We share the opinion of BudaSolar that creating a product with a microcrystalline layer -- a micromorph product -- is the best way to achieve desired efficiency increases, while maintaining or even improving on the existing cost advantage of the batch-type process."
Peter Lewis, Group Vice President of STF's Thin Film and Equipment Division, commented, "We are glad to hear of BudaSolar's collaboration with Bangkok Solar, and believe this is a positive step towards further bringing down the production cost of photovoltaic systems in the very near future."