Masdar PV’s ‘unused’ SunFab thin-film line up for grabs in auction

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The closure of Masdar PV’s a-Si thin-film operations that were announced in May, 2014 has subsequently and inevitably led to the sale of the production line equipment, which will take place in an online auction conducted by Maynards on October 8.

Interestingly, Maynards used the word “unused” to describe the 60MW Applied Materials ‘SunFab’ line at Masdar PV’s facility in Germany. 

The closure of Masdar PV’s a-Si thin-film operations that were announced in May, 2014 has subsequently and inevitably led to the sale of the production line equipment, which will take place in an online auction conducted by Maynards on October 8.

Masdar PV had presumably purchased a second standard ‘SunFab’ lines from Applied Materials, based on expected demand and the opportunity to lower production costs with scale. 

What was was not publically known was that the second line would seem, according to Maynards description to have never actually entered production. 

According to Finlay Colville, vice-president of NPD Solarbuzz, “Masdar had been one of the highest profile customers for the turn-key a-Si based production line suppliers, and had originally been talking about US$1 billion level investments into a-Si manufacturing capacity in Germany and Masdar City. At the end of the day, only a fraction of the intended capacity was installed, with original commitments cancelled a long time ago.”

Colville’s take is that the unused line had been purchased but the order was later terminated. Masdar was obligated to take the line, therefore it became surplus to requirements.

“From all the turn-key a-Si line deliveries over the years from AMAT, Oerlikon Solar, ULVAC and Jusung, there are only a few customers left today running equipment, with the long-term prospects for each of these increasingly under threat from the dominance of p-type multi c-Si modules on the market,” added Colville.

Whats also interesting is to see a list of equipment and suppliers that were behind Applied’s turnkey SunFab product, something again that was not in the public domain and includes the following; 

Frontend Equipment
Washers (Benteler)
Auto Seamer (Benteler)
PECVDs (AKT)
Abatement Systems: Pumping Stands, (Edwards) and Marathons (Metron)
Exhaust Air Filtration System PECVD (Keller)
PVD ATON 5.7 (Applied Materials)
Lasers (MANZ)
Glass Handling Robots (KUKA)
Glass Transport Conveyors (Grenzebach)
Glass Storage Systems / Accumulators
Laser Edge Delete Tool (Manz)

Backend Equipment
Laser Edge Delete (Manz / Rofin)
Shuntbusting and Cell-Measurement Tool (ATS)
Cut & Break (Grenzebach)
Seamer (Benteler)
Washers (Benteler)
Bussing/Soldering Tool (ATS)
Automated Lamination Preparation (Benteler)
Laminator (Kloepper)
Autoclave (Scholz)
Junction Box Attachment (ATS)
Solar Simulator (ATS)

Complete Line for Manufacturing of BIPV Modules
BIPV Laser for special Designs and Semitransparency (Manz)
Cutting Table (Hegla)
CNC-Automated Seamer (Benteler)
Washer (Benteler)
Vacuum Laminator (Meier)
BIPV Solar Simulator (Berger)
Air Cushion Tables for Manual Processing
Soldering Station (Weller)

Not surprisingly some of the big ticket items are several of Applied’s AKT PECVD systems valued at €15,000 a piece (bargain) and Applied’s sputtering system ‘ATON’ 5.7 for a cool €20,000. 

A complete auction catalogue with images and detailed descriptions can be found here.

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