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Friday, November 02, 2007

ersol Thin Film: solar (back) at work

ersol amorphous silicon thin film module production back on!

ersol expects the first micromorphous (micromorph tandem) thin film module samples to be available from mid 2008

On the heals of New experts join ersol management team (Deutsch) released earlier this week, ersol “Nova-T” thin-film module fulfils Protection Class II requirements (Deutsch) was an odd press release issued Thursday, November 1, 2007.

Why was Nova-T thin film module certification significant? In Oerlikon solar (almost) at work: ersol Thin Film delays production and reiterated by ersol Solar Energy AG (FRA:ES6) CEO Dr. Claus Beneking at Solar Power 2007 (see Solar Light Flashes: October 22, 2007), amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin film module production by ersol Thin Film was supposed to be cancelled in favor of accelerating micromorph tandem module production.

Per the ersol “Nova-T” press release:

Since the planned switch from amorphous to micromorphous product generation will take a fairly long time, even just because of the delivery times for key components, ersol is now planning to launch amorphous modules, as an interim step towards micromorphous production, in spring 2008.

As a result, ersol has reversed course and plans to begin a-Si module sales starting in Spring 2008. The ersol Thin Film production line has produced a-Si modules with 78Wp (Watt-peak) average stabilized capacity after the impact of the Staebler-Wronski effect.

Dr. Christian Koitzsch, Technical Director of ersol Thin Film GmbH, said:

We are already preparing for the field deployment of the Nova-T modules with the first key customers and we are looking forward to the anticipated grid connection of the first demonstration and test plants during Q1 2008. However, we have not yet decided on our production plan for 2008 as a whole.

So what is the reason for this production decision flip flop? Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Successful Protection Class II verification and obtaining the CE label was a critical gating item.
  • 6% module efficiency is not so bad after all.
  • A brand new idle €80 Million factory does not sit well with ersol investors.
  • The new management team at ersol Thin Film has had time to reevaluate the situation and changed the decision.

In any event, this development does not appear to be related to the schedule for Oerlikon’s KAI 1200M2 micromorph deposition systems. By all accounts, KAI 1200M2 shipments are on track per committed delivery schedules. Perhaps ersol did not get their KAI 1200M2 orders placed early enough to be at the front of the queue?

Please click the Topic label ersol for related posts.

Here is more than you ever wanted to know about how IBM Pioneers Process to Turn Waste into Solar Energy. I am all for efficient recycling, but this news has gotten more press than justified. 13.5MWp (MegaWatt-peak) solar cell production from 3 million recycled semiconductor wafers represents a drop in the existing multi GigaWatt Photovoltaic market.

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