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Hanergy Solar has said it will start construction of a planned 3GW CIGS thin-film manufacturing complex in Caofeidian, Hebei Province, China in March 2014 with tool install starting by the end of the year.
Hanergy Solar is establishing a subsidiary, Hebei Caofeidian Hanergy Photovoltaic Co. Ltd, to own and operate the new complex.
Initial plans are to build two separate production lines with a total nameplate capacity of 600MW.
Hanergy Solar said one of the turnkey lines with a nameplate capacity of 300MW would employ MiaSolé-based CIGS sputtering process technology, while the second line with a further 300MW would employ Solibro’s co-evaporating manufacturing process technology.
Both CIGS manufacturers were acquired by Hanergy Group and their technology licences transferred to Hanergy Solar and subsidiaries.
The initial 600MW phase-one construction and equipment spending is estimated at approximately US$780 million.
Hanergy Solar is banking on both CIGS technologies providing the highest conversion efficiencies of any thin-film technology, while the large-scale operation would provide the lowest manufacturing costs, enabling CIGS technology to become a major mainstream technology and position Hanergy Solar as the leading global CIGS supplier.
The company said in a statement: “The group believes that CIGS thin-film technology, with its high conversion efficiency rate, promising cost potential, and with the ability to apply on flexible substrates to form flexible modules, will be the mainstream products of future solar market. The entering into the Caofeidian contracts marks an important development milestone of the group, in manufacturing and delivering to its customers turnkey lines with advanced CIGS solar thin-film technology. The Caofeidian contracts will allow the Group to further develop the necessary capability and expertise and accumulate the experience to become the world’s leading CIGS turnkey line provider.”
In a guest blog for PV Tech, Finlay Colville, vice president of NPD Solarbuzz, said of the plans: “Hanergy’s plans appear to show the first signs of favouritism in the three-horse CIGS race between the subsidiaries of Solibro, Miasolé and Global Solar Energy. While each had been pitching fervently within Hanergy to be part of the first round of CIGS spending, the two winners in phase one are Solibro and Miasolé: perhaps not a great surprise when viewing the production quantities of these two CIGS companies compared to Global Solar in the past.”
Hanergy had also requested a two-year extension on its expansion plans for the existing MiaSolé Inc plant Santa Clara, California with the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA).
Financial funding for the expansion was expected to be in place by the fourth quarter of 2015.
Learn more about CIGS in Photovoltaics International; CIGS manufacturing: Promises and reality.