German company Johanna Solar Technology has started production on its copper-indium-gallium-sulphur-selenium (CIGSSe) thin-film solar photovoltaic glass-module manufacturing line. The panels made at the 30-MW factory will be distributed by aleo solar starting in summer 2009.
“An important milestone has been achieved,” said Volker Probst, CTO of Johanna Solar. “All necessary steps for the commercialization of our high-quality and high-yield thin-film solar modules have been introduced.” The Brandenburg an der Havel production site is ready for serial production, only one year after the installation of the process equipment, he added.
“The roadmap for the further technological development of our production is clear,” added Johanna managing directors Peter Forch and Gerhard Bookjans. “The goal is the continuous increase in efficiency and the reduction of production costs, and this will be rewarded by the market.”
“We are very proud to add these high-quality solar modules to our product portfolio,” said Jakobus Smit, chairman of aleo solar (which owns 19% of the TFPV company). He also noted that aleo anticipates a high demand for Johanna products in the strongly developing business of PV rooftop installations in Germany, Italy, and France.
This is not the first time Johanna Solar has said it would soon have its CIGSSe modules ready for commercial release. The company, which uses technology developed by Vivan Alberts and his team at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, announced in early 2007 that it would have its TFPV panels on the market by the end of that year.
Johanna Solar and its founder, IFE, also signed a licensing agreement with Sunvim Solar in March 2008. Under the terms of the deal, the Chinese company will deploy the German company’s proprietary CIGSSe technology in a 60-MW TFPV module fab, being built by Sunvim in Gaomi, Shandong, China.
Other German CIS/CIGS/CIGSSe manufacturers have announced commercial shipments and production ramps in recent months, including Sulfurcell, Q-Cells’ associate company Solibro, and Odersun, while U.S.-based Global Solar recently inaugurated its new production facility near Berlin.