ersol Thin Film and SCHOTT Solar forge alliance for the joint development of micromorphous thin-film
Erfurt/ Alzenau, 6 February 2008. ersol Thin Film GmbH, a subsidiary of ersol Solar Energy AG (ersol), and SCHOTT Solar GmbH, Alzenau, have concluded a cooperative agreement under which they will jointly develop micromorphous technology for thin-film solar cells.
• Co-operative agreement signed
• Goal: accelerated development of production technology
Erfurt/ Alzenau, 6 February 2008. ersol Thin Film GmbH, a subsidiary of ersol Solar Energy AG (ersol), and SCHOTT Solar GmbH, Alzenau, have concluded a cooperative agreement under which they will jointly develop micromorphous technology for thin-film solar cells. The two companies will be combining their resources in the area of research and development with the aim of achieving faster product maturity and hence a leading market position in micromorphous solar modules. For this purpose development department staff is to be exchanged between the two sites. Substantial advantages can be anticipated from the merging of development activities in a location-independent project, e.g. shorter time-to-market for new products with optimised use of development resources. "Both companies - SCHOTT Solar und ersol Thin Film - will profit from this research alliance. We are anticipating a market lead of both partners in micromorphous thin-film modules based on our proven amorphous silicon technology," Dr Martin Heming, Managing Director of SCHOTT Solar GmbH, stresses the significance of the closed technological cooperation.
Both ersol Thin Film and SCHOTT Solar have already begun with the market launch of amorphous thin-film technology in the 1.4 sqm Gen 5 format. SCHOTT Solar has been successfully marketing SCHOTT ASI® thin film modules for a number of years. ersol Thin Film markets its amorphous modules under the brand name Nova®-T series. Parallel to this, the company will now be pushing ahead with the development of micromorphous technology as the "next generation of silicon-based thin-film technology". Deposit plants already existing for amorphous production permit conversion to the manufacture of microcrystalline cells. In the event that the project is a success, the preliminary work already performed will enable the development alliance to become one of the first companies to market this new technology in Europe as a product. In contrast to the simple amorphous version, the micromorphous thin-film module has a double-layer structure consisting of an amorphous and a microcrystalline silicon film. The arrangement results in improved exploitation of sunlight, because the two silicon layers convert the whole light spectrum into power. "We believe that this so-called micromorphous tandem cell can achieve up to 50 % increase in module efficiency, and therefore also in the module yield in comparison to amorphous technology," explained Dr. Christian Koitzsch, Managing Director Technology of ersol Thin Film GmbH, in conclusion.
ersol Solar Energy AG produces and markets high-quality silicon-based photovoltaic products. The Group comprises the divisions Silicon, Wafers, Solar Cells and Modules. With sales of € 128 million in financial year 2006, the Thuringia-based company is one of the leading companies in the solar industry. Listed since 30 September 2005 on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the young ersol share was already admitted to the TecDAX on 19 December 2005. Currently the ersol Group has more than 800 employees.
The Company's main goal is to establish itself even more strongly as a manufacturer of high quality silicon solar cells and to account for a disproportionate slice of the anticipated growth in the photovoltaic industry. To achieve this, ersol currently focuses on technologically demanding stages of the value chain for photovoltaic plants, and in particular on the production of wafers and solar cells. There are a number of pillars to the Company's supply of the raw material it needs, silicon. It is primarily secured by long-term delivery agreements with leading polysilicon manufacturers. In addition to this, the Company's internal recycling capacities in the silicon area also make an important contribution. Silicon is processed in the Wafers area. The monocrystalline wafers manufactured there are preliminary products for the manufacturing of highly-efficient silicon solar cells in the Solar Cells division. Since early 2006 the Company has been delivering a part of its solar cells for the production of solar modules to the joint venture Shanghai Electric Solar Energy Co. Ltd. (SESE) in which the ersol Group has a 35% holding. The sales of these and other photovoltaic modules are handled in part by the Modules business segment. In the future, this segment is expected to include the Company's own module production, planned for 2009. ersol also develops silicon-saving thin-film technology in the Modules segment. A production facility for thin-film silicon modules was built for this.
SCHOTT Solar high quality products utilize the potential of the sun as an inexhaustible source of energy. The company is one of the largest fully-integrated manufacturers of crystalline silicon wafers, cells and modules in the photovoltaic industry. SCHOTT Solar is also one of the leading companies in thin film technologies. With its supply of silicon for long-term growth being assured by means of the WACKER SCHOTT Solar joint venture, the company, headquartered in Alzenau, Bavaria, has production facilities in Germany, the Czech Republic and the USA. The innovative power and technological competence of the company date back to the early days of photovoltaics in the late 1950s. SCHOTT Solar is a one-hundred percent daughter company of the SCHOTT international technology group, which develops special materials, components and systems for the household appliance, pharmaceutics, solar energy, electronics, optical and automotive industries. With a total of 16,800 employees, the SCHOTT group generates a worldwide turnover of 2.2 billion Euros.