Manz Automation forms alliance with Würth Solar: sets sights on CIGS thin-film manufacturing

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Manz Automation has signed a licensing and strategic alliance agreement with Würth Solar for the exclusive rights of use to Würth’s CIGS production technology, for an initial period of 10 years. The company aims to use the alliance to become the market leader as a provider of fully integrated, cost-effective CIGS production lines (CIGSfab).

The existing contractual relationship with Würth Solar and the ZSW centre for solar energy and hydrogen research also means that Manz has exclusive access to research results regarding CIGS modules on glass substrates.

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Manz will pay a total of €50 million in installments through to commissioning of the first CIGSfab. Financing for the transaction has been secured through existing equity, additional borrowing, and from the cash flows that result from the expanded business model in future.

Dieter Manz, Manz Automation’s CEO, said, “By bundling our expertise in this strategic alliance, which is the only one of its kind in the world, we can supply solar manufacturers with fully integrated production lines that will have the lowest manufacturing costs of all turnkey thin-film lines in the future.”

Bernd Sprecher, managing director of Würth Solar, said, “We are contributing our entire development and production expertise to this strategic alliance, and are using our expertise to support the process from planning through to execution and taking the production lines into operation in order to help CIGS technology to finally break through.”

“Parts of our existing CIGS line in future will also be used as a development line for the cooperation. The cooperation with Manz Automation is an important corner stone of the strategic development of Würth Solar,” continued Sprecher.

The estimated sales potential for a CIGSfab with a capacity of 120MW per year is around €150 million.

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