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. 

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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