Alliance for CIGS Solar Technology Development

Dieter Manz after the contract signing with representatives of Shanghai Electric and Shenhua (Source: Manz)

Manz has entered a strategic cooperation with Shanghai Electric and Shenhua in the field of CIGS thin-film technology. In the course of that, Manz received two bulk orders, one for a CIGS production line with a capacity of 306 MW and another one for a CIGS R&D line with 44 MW capacity. The order for the R&D line has been placed by a newly established R&D joint venture, the order for the CIGS turnkey mass production line (CIGSfab) by a newly established module joint venture of affiliated subsidiaries of Shenhua Group and Shanghai Electric. This CIGSfab, which will be the largest CIGS production line in China and the second largest worldwide, will be built in Chongqing. The installation will start in 2017 and will be finished in the following year 2018. Considering the immense potential worldwide this order, however, is considered only as a first step. The order volume totals 263 million euro and will affect revenues and earnings during the financial years 2017 and 2018. Due to corresponding down payment agreements, these orders will be realized cash flow positive. Both, the cooperation as well as the orders received, form the basis for a profitable corporate development of Manz and prove the technological and cost leadership of CIGS thin-film technology.

Dieter Manz, CEO and founder of Manz, is pleased: “This cooperation is absolutely outstanding in the solar industry worldwide. We were always convinced of the superiority and potential of our CIGS thin-film technology since CIGS modules from Manz already offer the lowest electricity generation costs in comparison to the crystalline silicon technology. Today’s agreements mark the breakthrough in our solar business. Our confidence in our excellent engineering know-how will now pay off.”

To further commercialize and develop Manz CIGS thin-film technology, the three partners – Shenhua, Shanghai Electric and Manz – agreed combining their strengths in the area of power generation, large-scale equipment manufacturing and world-leading technology. Shenhua Group, a large coal enterprise in China and coal supplier in the world, teamed up with Shanghai Electric, anchor investor of Manz and a leading equipment supplier in China for power generation, to cover know-how through the entire value chain of renewable power generation from CIGS solar modules. Manz has exclusive access to the world record for CIGS thin-film solar cell efficiency on glass at 22.6 % thanks to its longstanding and exclusive collaboration with the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research of Baden-Wuerttemberg, ZSW. Moreover, Manz already runs one of the largest and most experienced R&D teams in the field of CIGS worldwide at its location in Schwäbisch Hall.

The companies laid the foundation for a unique R&D joint venture that might become the world-leading research company dedicated to the CIGS thin-film technology. The R&D joint venture will leverage the potential of CIGS for further efficiency increase and reduction of manufacturing costs. With the objective to further accelerate the R&D process, a R&D line will be installed in Beijing in addition to the existing one of Manz in Schwäbisch Hall. Therefore, Manz will deliver a 44 MW line to the joint venture. The current R&D entity for CIGS from Manz, the Manz CIGS Technology GmbH, will be acquired by the new R&D joint venture for 50 million euros. In return, Manz becomes shareholder with 15 % for an amount of 25 million euros. 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.

To push forward the realization of this immense potential in a sustainable way, Shanghai Electric, Shenhua and Manz will also establish an Equipment Joint Venture which will exclusively start sales activities for the CIGSfab in China, realize the engineering services during upcoming projects and support the ramp-up. Whereas the above-mentioned bulk orders for the R&D line as well as the 306 MW production line have been placed at Manz directly, potential orders from China may follow and will be placed at the Equipment Joint Venture. Major shareholder is Manz with 56 % and therefore will fully consolidate future revenues and earnings. Shanghai Electric and Shenhua hold the remaining shares in the joint venture. In the rest of the world CIGSfabs will be sold solely by Manz. Within the further commercialization, the joint venture will also have access to the future research results of the R&D joint venture as well as from the collaboration with the ZSW through exclusive license rights agreements. (Source: Manz)

Links: Manz AG, Reutlingen, Germany • Shanghai Electric Co, Ltd., Shanghai, China • Shenhua Group Co. Ltd., Peking, China

Further reading: New Record in Thin-Film Solar Technology Efficiency, photonicsviews.com, 27th June 2016 • Record for Perovskite / CIGS Tandem Solar Module, photonicsviews.com, 30th September 2016 • M. Ametowobla, G. Matthäus: Ultrashort-pulse Laser Structuring of Thin-film Solar Modules, Laser Tech J. 13 (1), p.28 – 31 (January 2016)

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