Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar module maker Calyxo has commissioned a new 60MW production line at its Bitterfeld-Wolfen plant in Germany.
The company hosted an inauguration event, attended by dignitaries including the minister for economic affairs for Saxony, Dr Tamara Zieschang and Bitterfeld-Wolfen mayor Petra Wust.
According to Calyxo, the 60MW production line took a total of five years to construct, with the company investing €54 million ($73.1 million) in the process. Completion of the new line has come a little later than expected, after it was reported last year that it was scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2012.
The addition of the new line brings Calyxo’s manufacturing capacity up to 85MW, with 25MW already installed. Potential exists for further expansion to 100MW.
The company has obtained several EPC contracts in the past year, which it said would sustain demand for the new production line’s modules. Most recently, Calyxo claimed in mid-November that it had been awarded a contract to supply modules to Croatia’s largest PV power plant construction project. According to the company however, the 75Wp to 85Wp of modules it manufactures are suitable for applications ranging from small residential installations to large-scale power plants.
At the inauguration event, Dr Norman Johnston, Calyxo advisory board chairman and chief executive officer of US parent company Solar Fields, described Calyxo as “the survivors of Solar Valley”, the area of Bitterfeld-Wolfen in which several PV companies were located in a brief boom period.
Calyxo chief executive officer Dr Florian Holzapfel compared the company’s situation in Solar Valley to the French cartoon strip characters Asterix and Obelix, with Calyxo doing its best to fight off companies entering the market from Asia and buying up several of Calyxo's local rivals including Solibro and Q Cells. Stretching the Asterix metaphor further, Holzapfel said that following four years of research into manufacturing processes, Calyxo leadership had found the “elixir” to enter the market with new capacities. The company worked with collaborators including Fraunhofer Institute in Halle to develop its products.
Calyxo chief technical officer Michael Bauer, also speaking at the inauguration event, said: “In the solar market not automatically the ones who are strong will not survive, but those who can adapt to the market and their requirements.”