Posted in | Nanoenergy | Nanobusiness

One of the Largest Thin Film Solar Fabs in Mainland China Ramps up in Record Time

As China boosts solar energy to meet growing power demand and reduce dependence on imported fuels, Tianwei and Oerlikon Solar announced the completion of one of the mainland China's largest thin film solar panel factories. The facility was completed ahead of schedule. This first phase of the Tianwei project produces 500,000 modules per year, which generates a total of 46 megawatts of power.

Oerlikon Solar leads the thin film solar equipment sector with ten factories in production and the fastest time to market. Thin film solar offers a cost-advantage over traditional crystalline silicon, and is making strong efficiency gains. Tianwei is using Oerlikon Solar's Amorph High Performance PV technology for Phase 1.

"Oerlikon Solar surpassed its promised completion time and efficiency," said Mr. Ma Wenxue, General Manager of Baoding Tianwei Solarfilms Co., Ltd. "Watching this state of-the-art fab go from an empty room to full production in six months was stunning."

Reaching production quickly is essential to allow Tianwei to address the rapidly growing Chinese solar market. Under the "Golden Sun" program announced on July 21, China's Ministry of Finance will subsidize half of the construction costs for on-grid solar power plants. The ministry of finance will also pay for up to 70 percent of off-grid installations and cover transmission costs where necessary. In response, analysts have predicted that China could develop more than 500 megawatts of solar power within three years. Just 50 megawatts of solar power were installed in 2008.

"Oerlikon Solar has designed, tested and perfected its methodology for bringing new factories and equipment online on time and on budget," said Jeannine Sargent, CEO of Oerlikon Solar. "This is key in being the leader on the path to grid parity and placing clean renewable solar power on equal footing with traditional fossil fuel sources.

Oerlikon Solar has the first thin film silicon technology to have IEC certification from TÜV Rheinland for Amorph Basic, Amorph High Performance and Micromorph®. Certification compresses the time to production by reducing administration efforts and guaranteeing durability and performance. With more challenging credit markets, certification also makes Oerlikon Solar's customers projects more predictable and bankable. TÜV certification for the Tianwei line is expected in September 2009.

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