centrotherm photovoltaics achieves milestone in thin film area: Successful production of first CIGS modules for Taiwanese customer

Blaubeuren, 18.01.2010

  • Module area of 1.5 m² in mass production
  • Group order book at around EUR 900 million
  • Orders worth more than EUR 400 million signed in Q4

centrotherm photovoltaics AG is consistently pursuing its development aims in its Thin Film division: the first CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) thin film modules have been produced on a turnkey production line for a Taiwanese customer. With "First Module out", the photovoltaics experts from Blaubeuren have confirmed the performance of their process and plant technologies. The production line in Taiwan is designed and established for a capacity of around 30 megawatts. It consists of 60 machines extending over a total distance of 400 meters. A team of around 20 process engineers is operating jointly with the customer on location in order to ensure that the project runs successfully. The aim is that full productivity with an average efficiency of ten percent will be achieved before the end of 2010. With a surface area of 1.5 m2, the modules that are being produced currently rank as the largest modules in mass production.

centrotherm photovoltaics is backing the highly efficient CIGS technology as it offers the best prospects of achieving the highest efficiencies in thin film mass production. Compared with other thin film technologies, this production process also dispenses with the use of toxic process gases. Dr. Peter Fath, CTO of centrotherm photovoltaics, commented as follows: "Our strength, which consists of combining technology and process know-how, is also evident in our turnkey concept for CIGS modules. It is distinguished by technically simple industrial process management, with which we enable our customers to achieve cost-efficient production along with competitive efficiencies."

Production costs significantly below one euro per Watt-peak conceivable
The Taiwanese customer, which is entering the thin film market with its first turnkey line, is also convinced of the centrotherm technology. Production costs that are significantly below one euro per Watt-peak are conceivable in thin film mass production in the future. "We are convinced of the future potential of CIGS technology, and we believe that it will be a medium-term winner, also compared with the business in the crystalline cell area, which is currently significantly stronger," Dr. Fath emphasized.  With a look to the current year, however, centrotherm photovoltaics does not yet anticipate a strong rise in demand. Dr. Fath went on to comment: "Falling costs for crystalline cells are raising the benchmark higher. Thin film technology still has a lot of catching up to do by comparison."      

Group order book at around EUR 900 million
The group order book amounted to around EUR 900 million as of December 31, 2009. New orders with a value of around EUR 400 million have been signed since October 1, 2009. This includes a framework contract to supply eight turnkey lines and six turnkey module lines, which are due for delivery in the next two years. The contract entails a volume of around EUR 160 million. centrotherm photovoltaics also won a follow-up order relating to a silicon project that is already in the order book, with a value of EUR 160 million. The market trend, which is again reporting positive growth overall, is also reflected in the inflow of new orders for single items of equipment from the Solar Cell division: here, orders with a volume of around EUR 70 million and a total production capacity of 2.8 gigawatts were signed. Furthermore, consulting and engineering mandates were signed in the silicon division. Of the total amount of more than EUR 400 million of order volumes, only EUR 117 million were booked as new orders in the fourth quarter of 2009, in line with centrotherm photovoltaics' circumspective approach to booking orders.

About centrotherm photovoltaics AG

centrotherm photovoltaics AG, which is based at Blaubeuren, is one of the world's leading technology and equipment providers for the manufacturing of solar silicon, crystalline solar cells and CIGS thin film modules. The broad product spectrum comprises key equipment and turnkey production lines for crystalline and thin-film solar cells. The product range is supplemented by reactors and converters for the manufacturing of solar silicon. centrotherm photovoltaics guarantees its customers important performance parameters such as production capacity, degree of efficacy, and completion deadlines for turnkey lines. The Group employs around 1,100 staff members, and operates in Europe, Asia and the USA. centrotherm photovoltaics achieved revenue in the 2008 financial year of EUR 375 million, EBIT of EUR 56 million*, and is listed in the TecDax of the Frankfurt Securities Exchange. (*before purchase price allocations)

centrotherm photovoltaics AG
Johannes-Schmid-Strasse 8
89143 Blaubeuren
Internet: www.centrotherm.de
Admitted to the Regulated Market/Prime Standard, Frankfurt Securities Exchange
Corporate domicile: Germany

Company contact:
Saskia Schultz-Ebert
Senior Manager Investor Relations
Tel: +49 7344 918-8890
E-Mail: saskia.schultz-ebert(at)centrotherm.de

Press contact:
Britta Cirkel, Christina Siebels
HOSCHKE & CONSORTEN Public Relations GmbH
Tel: +49 40 3690 50-23 /-58
E-Mail: b.cirkel(at)hoschke.de; c.siebels(at)hoschke.de