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25 January 2017

Manz receives €263m order for turnkey CIGS PV production lines with capacity of 350MW

Manz AG of Reutlingen, Germany (a supplier of integrated production lines for solar cells and modules) has entered into a strategic cooperation on copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film technology with Shanghai Electric Group Co Ltd (one of China's largest equipment manufacturing conglomerates, and Manz's anchor investor) and power generation firm Shenhua Group Corporation Ltd (reckoned to be the world's largest coal supplier, which in 2015 adapted itself to China's strategic focus on clean energy development).

As part of the agreement, Manz has received two bulk orders collectively worth €263m: one for a 44MW-capacity R&D line from a newly established R&D joint venture, and one for a 306MW-capacity turnkey mass-production line (CIGSfab) for a newly established module joint venture of affiliated subsidiaries of Shenhua Group and Shanghai Electric. This CIGSfab, which is expected to be the largest CIGS production line in China and the second largest worldwide, will be built in Chongqing. Installation will begin in 2017 and finish in 2018.

However, this order is considered to be only a first step. The €263m will contribute to Manz's revenue and earnings during fiscal 2017 and 2018.

"CIGS modules from Manz already offer the lowest electricity generation costs in comparison to the crystalline silicon technology," claims Manz's CEO & founder Dieter Manz. "Today's agreements mark the breakthrough in our solar business."

To further commercialize and develop Manz's CIGS thin-film technology, the three partners – Shenhua, Shanghai Electric and Manz – have agreed to combine their strengths in power generation, large-scale equipment manufacturing, and CIGS solar technology. Shenhua Group has teamed with Shanghai Electric to span expertise through the entire value chain of renewable power generation from CIGS solar modules. Due to its collaboration with ZSW (Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung — or Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research — Baden-Württemberg) of Stuttgart, Germany, Manz has exclusive access to CIGS thin-film solar cells on glass with record efficiency of 22.6%. Moreover, Manz already runs one of the world's largest CIGS R&D teams, in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany.

R&D joint venture

With the agreement, the firms have laid the foundation for an R&D joint venture dedicated to CIGS thin-film technology that aims to leverage CIGS' potential to further increase efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs. To accelerate R&D, supplementing Manz's existing R&D line in Schwäbisch Hall, the 44MW line will be delivered for installation at the JV in Beijing. Also, Manz's existing CIGS R&D entity Manz CIGS Technology GmbH will be acquired by the new R&D JV for €50m. In return, Manz will take a 15% stake in the JV in exchange for €25m. The remaining shares are held by affiliated subsidiaries of Shenhua Group and Shanghai Electric. The involved parties also agreed to guarantee the site and jobs in Schwäbisch Hall for the next five years. Also as a result of this agreement, the annual €15-20m negative impact on Manz's earnings from running the site in Schwäbisch Hall will cease.

Equipment joint venture

Shanghai Electric, Shenhua Group and Manz will also establish an equipment joint venture that will exclusively begin sales activities for the CIGSfab in China, provide engineering services during upcoming projects, and support the ramp-up. Whereas the bulk orders for the 44MW R&D line as well as the 306MW production line have been placed at Manz directly, future orders from China will be placed at the equipment JV. Manz has a majority 56% stake, while Shanghai Electric and Shenhua Group hold the remaining shares. In the rest of the world, CIGSfabs will be sold solely by Manz. Regarding further commercialization, the equipment JV will also have access to future research results of the R&D JV as well as from the collaboration with ZSW through exclusive license rights agreements.

"Our long-standing perseverance as well as the high investments in the further development of our CIGS technology are paying off," believes Dieter Manz. "The past years have not always been easy, neither for our employees nor for our shareholders," he adds. "Manz now takes over a leading role with its fully integrated turnkey production line CIGSfab regarding the technological change from the labor- and material-intensive crystalline solar technology towards the resource-saving and efficient thin-film solar technology."

See related items:

Manz sets CIGS PV module efficiency record of 16% using mass-production line

Tags: CIGS Manz PV  ZSW

Visit: www.manz.com

Visit: www.zsw-bw.de

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