First Solar equipment supplier LPKF Laser maintaining production despite COVID-19 crisis

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With LPKF Laser’s success with providing technology for all scribe steps for large-area CdTe thin film modules, the company has launched a complete solution for CIGS modules, which the company said that it expected its product and technology offering to be qualified by a customer in 2020. Image: First Solar

Germany-based LPKF Laser & Electronics AG has told PV Tech that its manufacturing plants in Germany are able to operate at normal capacity levels, despite the continued impact of COVID-19. 

LPKF Laser is a key equipment supplier to ‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member, First Solar as it migrates and adds new Series 6 CdTe thin-film module capacity. The supplier provides First Solar with advanced laser scribing tools across the SMSL’s manufacturing plants in the US, Malaysia and Vietnam. 

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The equipment supplier told PV Tech that the company had undertaken measures to protect its employees. 

“Our production at all sites, including the manufacturing of Laser Scribers in Suhl [Germany], continues to run at normal capacity. We have taken extensive measures to protect our employees and to prevent closing production,” a spokesperson told PV Tech.

The company has several manufacturing plants in Germany with a global service network in Europe, USA and Asia, including China and employs around 688 people.

LPKF Laser recently reported that its solar sector revenue reached a record €44.1 million in 2019, up 13% year-on-year and accounted for 31.5% of total sales in 2019.

LPKF Laser recently reported that its solar sector revenue reached a record €44.1 million in 2019, up 13% year-on-year and accounted for 31.5% of total sales in 2019.

The increase in LPKF Laser’s solar sales is directly related to First Solar’s ramp of Series 6 modules. The company reported in February 2020 that its Series 6 nameplate capacity reached 5.5GW at the end of 2019. The company achieved a top module production bin of 435W and a record 447W Series 6 module, validated by Fraunhofer. 

The manufacturing migration plans in 2020 are expected to result a in further 500MW of Series 6 nameplate capacity and a further 1.3GW added in 2021, giving First Solar a total Series 6 nameplate capacity of 8GW. 

With LPKF Laser’s success with providing technology for all scribe steps for large-area CdTe thin film modules, the company has launched a complete solution for CIGS modules, which the company said that it expected its product and technology offering to be qualified by a customer in 2020. 

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