TSMC to sell own-branded CIGS thin-film modules as first 200MW fab starts construction

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Moving away from its ‘pure-play’ foundry business model to which it has vehemently adhered in the semiconductor industry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will directly sell copper-indium-gallium (di)selenide thin-film modules to the global market from its first 200MW plant, which broke ground today. An initial US$258 million is being invested to build a Thin Film Solar R&D Center and production plant, using technology from Stion. The thin-film start-up is partnering with TSMC, which will be its manufacturing and technology development partner.

TSMC also announced plans to add a second phase to the facility and expand CIGS production to more than 700MW, employing around 2,000 staff at the facility in Taichung’s Central Taiwan Science Park, home to its leading-edge semiconductor and newly-announced foray into the LED market.

First-phase equipment move-in was said to be planned for the second quarter of 2011, with plans to achieve initial volume production of 200MW per year in 2012. No timelines were given for the larger, second-phase capacity expansion.

“TSMC has always been committed to technology leadership, and our solar business will be no different,” commented Dr. Rick Tsai, TSMC president of new businesses. “The research performed at this R&D center will help us achieve our goal of offering a leading thin-film solution and the production at this fab, drawing on TSMC’s wealth of manufacturing know-how, will pave the way for us to become a top provider of solar PV modules.”  

The first CIGS facility was said to be 110,000m2 in size with a production area of 78,000m2.

TSMC chairman and CEO Dr. Morris Chang said, “Construction of this solar R&D center and fab, along with our Fab 15 Gigafab next to it, means Taichung’s Central Taiwan Science Park will become home to much of TSMC’s most advanced and innovative production.”

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