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Manz's CIGS to power up China

The solar energy project in Shilin Town in China's south western province Yunnan is currently the largest CIGS module solar park feeding power into the Chinese grid
Manz AG, is demonstrating the standards of its CIGSfab production line with the installation of thin film modules.

The modules were produced on the CIGS innovation line at the company's research site in Schwäbisch-Hall, which was taken over by Manz from Würth Solar at the start of 2012.

"Now that the Solar Park in Shilin Town has been commissioned, we can demonstrate the advantages of CIGS technology and the excellent manufacturing quality of our machines in practice. We are highly optimistic that we will also be able to convince interested solar cell producers of the benefits of our CIGSfab. Our aim in 2013 is to consistently exploit the potential that the solar market offers us," says Dieter Manz, founder and CEO of Manz.

The Manz modules installed in China have a nominal capacity of one Megawatt.

The investor is Beijing Sanglin Lantian Ltd. Co., a company which focuses among other interests on the planning and realisation of renewable energy generation projects.

Xiao-Yi Wang, President and shareholder of the Solar Park, comments, "In comparison with the crystalline solar modules already installed, the Manz CIGS solar modules yield up to 10 percent more. That is an absolutely decisive figure which underscores sustainably the immense potential of this technology and impressively demonstrates the benefits of the favourable temperature coefficients of CIGS in the almost subtropical climate of Yunnan."

Dieter Manz adds, 'In terms of efficiency, in recent months we have made a great step forward. Now, in mass production we reach more than 13 percent on a stable basis. This has so far been unequalled anywhere else in the world, and strengthens our market position to participate in the coming investment cycle in the solar industry."

Beijing Sanglin Lantian Ltd. Co has had the modules installed in the open landscape, integrated into buildings and in roof-mounted configuration.

The Chinese government, too, sees clear advantages in the use of CIGS technology which has been adopted as a focus of research in its 12th five-year plan. CIGS modules achieve a significantly higher degree of efficiency than other thin-film modules. At the same time, production costs are significantly lower than for crystalline solar cells.

The reason for this is that in the case of CIGS modules, the semiconductor layer that absorbs sunlight is in large part composed of low-cost copper and is less than two microns thick - around one hundredth of a crystalline solar cell. Producing thin film modules based on glass substrates also obviates the costly manufacture of silicon wafers, as well as the need to interconnect each individual cell.

Manz maintains its CIGSfab makes it possible to produce high-efficiency thin film modules at an economic cost. Depending on the location, thin film solar modules manufactured on the integrated CIGS production line will in future be able to supply energy at a cost of a miniscule 4 euro cents (Spain) and 8 euro cents (Germany) per kilowatt hour.

This puts solar electricity on a par with electricity generated from fossil fuels, and well below the cost of power generated by offshore wind farms. Apart from providing all the machinery, Manz also offers the know-how required for module production. And so new entrants to the solar market can rapidly ramp up local production of solar modules in the growth markets of the future.

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