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5 February 2014

South Africa’s PTiP opens CIGS PV module pilot-production line

In the presence of guests from Germany and South Africa (including politicians, business and technical partners), Photovoltaic Technology Intellectual Property (Pty) Ltd (PTiP) - a spin-off from the University of Johannesburg - has officially commissioned its pilot-production line for manufacturing copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar modules. Singulus Technolgies AG of Kahl am Main, Germany, which makes production equipment for the Optical Disc and Solar sectors, supplied the engineering technology and support for the key production processes.

The demonstration plant in the Techno Park near Stellenbosch was established on the back of CIGS solar module development over the past 20 years in University of Johannesburg’s research laboratories. The facility will conduct R&D for commercial-scale and market-ready 1200mm x 600mm CIGS modules. Commercial development of the PTiP process is in the spotlight of the South African government. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is a strategic shareholder and is financially supporting PtiP’s expansion in Techno Park. PTiP received additional financial support from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology. With the new CIGS line, the module development can be improved, it is reckoned, with particular regard to efficiency and the specific demands of the African market.

“The commissioning and official opening of this CIGS pilot facility in South Africa confirms the goals of the South African government to support and promote alternative and renewable energies, based on locally developed IP and skills,” says PTiP’s CEO professor Vivian Alberts. “The immediate goal is to set-up a commercially viable production plant for CIGS thin-film modules in South Africa in order to supply products with high local content to existing and future PV projects in South Africa,” he adds. “The European Investment Bank already announced its support for the establishment of a PTiP production plant and the mass production of PV modules. With the core production equipment and support from our partner SINGULUS, we are able to industrially and efficiently implement our developed process.”

SINGULUS has been working with the University of Johannesburg for the past 3 years and, in the course of the cooperation, delivered the first laboratory systems in 2011. “With the vacuum coating, the selenization as well as two work steps in the wet-chemical area, in total we supplied four key process steps for a CIGS line,” notes SINGULUS’ CEO Dr.-Ing. Stefan Rinck. “With our partner PTiP, we intend to continue to successfully implement the additional expansion stages as well.”

Tags: Singulus CIGS/CIS PV

Visit: www.singulus.de

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