Collaboration has turned to acquisition as equipment specialist Manz is to acquire Würth Solar's CIGS thin-film production line in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. The deal will include the purchase of all technology IP from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), Würth Solar’s orginal technology partner on CIGS processes. The takeover should be concluded by early 2012 with a total of 116 Würth Solar employees being integrated into Manz as part of the acquisition.

Würth Solar is not exiting the market. Rather, it will be responsible for sales and marketing of the panels in the future.

Manz will use the production line as its R&D line, hoping the full line will lead to faster routes to lower costs and enable the faster implementation of module efficiency gains from lab to fab.

The new deal changes the previous agreement between the parties, in which Manz was contracted to provide further licensing payments when the first complete CIGSfab was sold. Financial details were not disclosed.

According to Würth Solar the CIGS line capacity will be taken down to only 6MW worth of modules per annum. The facility had a capacity of 30MW. Approximately 32 jobs will be lost in the switchover.