Many of the amorphous (a-Si) thin-film users of turnkey production lines have had to hunker down during the current recession and strictly limited access to capital. Hit by a perfect storm that saw polysilicon prices plummet and now reaching sub-US$50/kg for c-Si users, a-Si producers need higher conversion efficiencies to compete competitively with other technologies, not least CdTe leader, First Solar. According to Oerlikon Solar, many of its a-Si thin film customers are targeting 2012 and beyond to gain significant market share when their next-generation ‘micromorph’ factories will be in full production at production costs that enable grid-parity level PPA prices.
Oerlikon Solar had recently claimed that its tandem-junction technology would be capable of producing modules for US$0.70/W by the end of 2010.
“European countries such as Germany, Italy and Spain could claim about 80% [Solarbuzz, PV Marketshare Forecast 2010, Sept. 2009] of PV market share this year and we see tremendous opportunity in offering companies like Gadir Solar industrial proven mass production solutions for the thin film PV industry – the fastest-growing segment of PV,” commented Jürg Henz, CEO of Oerlikon Solar.
The company said that one of its most recent customers, Gadir Solar, has been ramping its 40MW a-Si thin-film line in the bay of Cadiz, Spain in record time since October 2009.
Heliosphera, another Oerlikon Solar customer, announced last year that it had received TUV certification for micromorph-based modules.