In another sign of the difficult market conditions facing a-Si thin-film module manufacturers, Masdar PV has sacked both Rainer Gegenwart and Joachim Nell from their roles as CEO and COO/CMO, respectively. Michael Alexander will head Masdar PV in the interim. Masdar PV is a customer of Applied Materials turnkey thin-film technology and equipment under its ‘SunFab’ product line.
“Masdar would like to express its sincere appreciation of Dr. Rainer Gegenwart and Joachim Nell for their significant leadership and achievements in building up the Masdar PV organization and establishing Ichtershausen/Thuringia as the company’s manufacturing site in Germany. Their contributions to the first phase of development have given Masdar PV a foundation to establish itself as a global leader of thin-film PV modules,” said Frank Wouters, director of Masdar Power. “Masdar remains strongly committed to Masdar PV, Ichtershausen/Thuringia, and Germany as a key market. We look forward to steadily accelerating the company’s ambition to become a sustainable manufacturer of innovative, silicon-based thin-film PV modules, and a strong force in the global PV market.”
The company said that Alexander “will help facilitate Masdar PV’s next development phase and ensure continued growth through operational ramp-up, product performance enhancement and sales expansion during the time required to identify new leadership.”
Like almost all a-Si thin-film companies, Masdar PV have been impacted by rapidly declining c-Si material costs that have made c-Si technologies far more competitive than only a few years ago when polysilicon spot prices were US$450/kg.
Also the rise of First Solar as the lowest cost-per-watt producer, with its CdTe modules having more than 50% higher conversion efficiencies than the panels produced by a-Si manufacturers, has led to a-Si modules becoming increasingly uncompetitive.
Many a-Si firms are now in a difficult position in which they cannot ramp to reduce the cost per watt as demand is extremely low for this technology, and expected higher conversion efficiencies from tandem junction cells may not be competitive with First Solar’s 11% efficiencies to spark demand and enable economies of scale to help reduce costs.