FIRST SOLAR - Wettbewerber TF (Seite 2)
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Konarka Secures $45 Million in Private Capital Financing
Leading Investors Back Clean Energy Innovator with Commercialization of
Lowell, Mass. – Oct. 1, 2007 – Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in development and commercialization of Power Plastic®, a material that converts light to energy, today announced it has raised $45 million in private capital financing. The financing was led by Mackenzie Financial Corporation, a leading investment management firm with over $60 billion in assets under management, and was co-led by existing investor, Good Energies, a leading investor in the renewable energy industry. Lead investors from prior rounds also participated, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Asenqua Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and 3i. Other participating current investors include Vanguard Ventures, Chevron Ventures, Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, NGEN Partners and Angeleno Group. The financing was agented by Lehman Brothers.
“Konarka has aggressive plans to accelerate the development and commercialization of our polymer-based organic photovoltaic (OPV) technologies for consumer, commercial, BIPV and electronic applications,” commented Rick Hess, president and CEO of Konarka. “This latest round of financing will help to accelerate our plan to bring Konarka’s organic photovoltaic material, Power Plastic, to market.”
Howard Berke, executive chairman of the board at Konarka, stated, “This funding further strengthens our balance sheet as we scale up to introduce Power Plastic commercially. We are in an optimal financial position to launch our renewable energy technology into a variety of markets.”
About Mackenzie Financial Corporation
Mackenzie Financial Corporation is a part of IGM Financial Inc., which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “IGM”, and a member of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies. Mackenzie, founded in 1967, manages approximately $63.7 billion of assets for more than one million investors. For more information, visit http://www.mackenziefinancial.com/.
After going nowhere for years, thin-film solar production has taken off in the United States. But is First Solar just a fluke?
by: Jennifer Kho
Bullet Arrow November 16, 2007
Thin-film solar technologies might make up a small portion of the world's solar panels today, but they made up almost half of the solar cells produced in the United States last year, Travis Bradford, president of the Prometheus Institute, said at Greentech Media's Solar Market Outlook this week.
According to Bradford, U.S. companies produced 92.5 megawatts of thin films, compared with a total of 201.6 megawatts of solar panels. Worldwide, thin films, which use little or no silicon, have grown from 4 percent of the solar market a few years ago to about 7 percent today, he said.
Thin films made up of amorphous silicon account for the largest chunk of the production, reaching 97.7 megawatts in 2006, while cadmium-telluride made up 68 megawatts and copper-indium-selenide and copper-indium-gallium-selenide made up only 4.9 megawatts, according to Bradford's presentation.
First Solar, which makes cadmium-telluride films, has quickly grown to be the largest supplier of solar cells by far, with 60 megawatts of production in 2006 and a 31 percent market share, Bradford said.
The company has been "a bright spot" in a rough year, what with falling panel prices and spot prices for solar-grade silicon rumored to have grown as high as $400 per kilogram, Bradford said.
First Solar shares (NSDQ:FSLR) have increased a whopping 17.9 percent so far this month, closing at $185.39 per share Wednesday, after the company announced a $1 billion sales deal, heftily beat third-quarter earnings expectations and said it was adding another 480 megawatts of annual capacity to its current 210 megawatts (see Thin-Film Solar Production to Leap Forward, Thin-Film Solar Gets Another Boost).
Even as some companies have announced decreasing margins, First Solar posted a third-quarter gross margin of 51.6 percent, up from 39.9 percent in the year-ago period, and said it expects to retain an operating margin of 25 percent and gross margins of 35 to 40 percent in the long term.
While glass packaging keeps the company from targeting new applications that require more flexible panels and could potentially keep First Solar from reaching the lowest prices in the future, it hasn't been an issue so far, Bradford said.
"First Solar says, 'We don't need long-term price declination; we can [get costs to] less than $1.25 per watt today,'" Bradford said, adding the company expects its costs will drop below $1 per watt by 2009.
If it achieves those costs, First Solar probably will be "within spitting distance" of 1 gigawatt by 2010 -- and with decent margins, considering it has contracts to supply its panels for $1.85 per watt, he said.
The company already has changed the game in the worldwide shortage of solar-grade silicon, Bradford said.
"You're hardly able to make a wafer for $1.85 a watt, much less a cell or a module," he said.
The company's performance may have encouraged other companies to pursue thin films more aggressively as well.
Sharp Corp. said it is building a 1-gigawatt thin-film plant in Japan, and Oerlikon and Applied Materials customers also have announced plans that amount to another 1 gigawatt of capacity, to name just a few examples (see Thin-Film Solar Production to Leap Forward, Thin-Film Solar Gets Another Boost).
The shorter lead times for building thin-film solar manufacturing capacity could be an advantage in the next few years, as the solar industry sees shrinking margins, Bradford predicts.
First Solar might take between nine and 15 months to build a new plant, compared with the three years or more that it takes to build polysilicon plants, he said.
That means thin-film companies can be more responsive to demand, a considerable advantage in a volatile market, he said.
However, not everyone holds the same view.
While advocates say thin films have the potential to produce panels for less, very few companies have reached mass production after decades of research.
First Solar could be a sign the problems that have kept predecessors from success, including difficulties manufacturing thin films cheaply at high volumes, are solvable. Or the company could be an exception to the rule.
"I agree First Solar's a phenomenal company; I just question who will be Second Solar," said Jeff Osborne, a managing director and analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners.
After all, even First Solar developed its technology over 10 years, explored three different technologies and changing its name four times during that period, he said.
"There are no investable assets in thin-film," Osborne said.
While First Solar investors clearly value thin-film technology highly now, Osborne wonders how much of that value is due to being "the only player of note in a niche market" and whether the higher value accorded to thin-film companies would drop if more of them went public.
"I question whether 80 players will get the funding to expand like that," he said. "I would venture to guess that half of them will fail."
Plenty of companies are ramping up now in the hope of becoming part of the other half.
Nuying Huang, Taipei; Esther Lam, DIGITIMES [Friday 16 November 2007]
NexPower Technology, a solar-cell company co-established by Unimicron Technology and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), will begin volume production of thin-film solar cells in mid 2008. Annual capacity is estimated at 12.5 peak megawatt (MWp), according to company general manager SM Wang at a recent technology forum held by the Monte Jade Science & Technology Association of Taiwan.
Construction of NexPower's plant at the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) in Taichung will be completed soon with equipment installation slated for early 2008. The first production line is expected to house an annual capacity of 12.5MWp and will start volume production in mid 2008. A second line will be installed by 2009, bringing total capacity to 25MWp, Wang detailed.
Many industry players have questioned the relatively high challenges involved in thin-film solar cell production and marketing and Wang echoed the sentiment, adding that the challenges have indeed been greater than expected, especially in terms of capital expenditure (capex). But he remarked that NexPower has professionals from sectors including semiconductor, solar, LCD and LED who are able to overcome the associated challenges.
The first goal of NexPower will be technology enhancement in order to reach volume production, Wang said. The company aims to grow its power conversion rate by 1-2 percentage points per year, he added. For each percentage point of power conversion efficiency, costs are reduced by 16%, Wang was cited as saying in a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.
NexPower will plan for next-stage capacity only when it meets the power conversion efficiency guided by equipment suppliers. Despite seeing stiff challenges on thin-film solar cell production, Wang stressed that non-crystalline silicon based solar cells are more suitable for long-term investment.
NexPower has already rented another eight-hectare plot of land at the same site where it intends to build a total of three thin-film solar production plants. Total investment amount will be NT$3 billion, the EDN report quoted Wang as saying.
Wang remarked that NexPower exhibited its products during a recent photovoltaic (PV) applications show in Milan, Italy with satisfactory feedback. Current order rates are good, he noted.
...wenn das stimmt, sind Sie die größten weltweit in dieser Sparte...
November 12, 2007
Tokyo, Japan: Honda Soltec Opens Thin Film Production Plant
Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., Honda's wholly-owned solar cell subsidiary, today commemorated the opening of its solar cell production plant with a ceremony attended by approximately 80 dignitaries, guests and Honda officials, including Yoshiko Shiotani, the governor of Kumamoto prefecture; Junichi Mitsuyama, the deputy general manager of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Department, Kyushu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI); and Isao Ieiri, the mayor of Ohzu-machi; as well as Takeo Fukui, the president and CEO of Honda.
Using thin film made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) instead of silicon, Honda's next-generation solar cell achieves a major reduction of approximately 50% in the amount of energy consumed during the manufacturing process compared to what is required to produce conventional crystal silicon solar cells. This makes Honda's solar cell more environmentally-responsible even during the production stage.
Honda Soltec began mass production of solar cells in October, and the annual production will reach the full capacity of 27.5 megawatts (an equivalent amount of electricity to power approximately 9,000 houses) by next spring.
The company has also begun sales of solar cells for homes throughout Japan with 80 distributor locations and plans to accelerate sales by increasing the number of distributor locations to more than 200 within 2008. Honda will also work to begin exports of Honda solar cells from its new operation based in Kumamoto.
In 2006, Honda announced a global CO2 reduction target for its products and the manufacturing of those products. In addition to its effort to reduce CO2 emissions, Honda is focusing on the development and sales of energy-creation products such as cogeneration units and thin film solar cells in order to further accelerate its efforts to reduce the threat of global warming. To reduce its environmental footprint, Honda has been proactively pursuing voluntary targets to make its automobiles, motorcycles, and power products cleaner and to reduce CO2 emissions.
At the same time, Honda has been committed to develop technology for a clean energy source which does not use fossil fuels. In addition to the development of new technology to produce ethanol from cellulose, and development and sales of fuel cell vehicles and household cogeneration units in Japan and the U.S., the commercialization of the next-generation solar cells enables Honda to accelerate its efforts to contribute to the realization of an environmentally-responsible and sustainable society.
Green Energy to break ground on thin-film solar module plant, says paper
Nov 07, 2007
Green Energy Technology is scheduled to break ground on November 16 for its first thin-film solar module plant at Kuanyin in Taiwan's northern county of Taoyuan, according to the Chinese-language Apple Daily newspaper.
The plant, with equipment installation slated for mid-2008 and production for the second half of 2008, will reach an annual capacity of
30MWp in the fourth quarter of 2008, which will be ramped further up to 50MWp by the fourth quarter of 2009, the paper added.
Oerlikon: Over half of equipment orders in 2008 to support micromorph tandem technology
Nuying Huang, Taipei; Esther Lam, DIGITIMES [Friday 23 November 2007]
Oerlikon is making further progress in its micromorph tandem technology and expects over half of the orders it receives in 2008 will be for solar cell production equipment supporting the technology, which will offer a power conversion rate of 10%, according to the company.
Oerlikon introduced its micromorph tandem technology in early September and claimed that it can achieve efficiencies of 10% and higher in the near future. By combining two silicon materials, amorph and microcrystalline (µc-Si), both visible sunlight and the near infrared spectrum can be absorbed and converted, resulting in a boost in the power efficiency rate by 50% over traditional amorphous (a-Si) single cells.
Company executives indicated that its first customer has placed orders for equipment supporting this new technology with delivery to be completed in the second quarter of 2008 and production slated to begin in the third quarter. The customer is from Europe, the executives added.
Oerlikon anticipates that the power conversion rate offered by the technology will be 8.5% in 2008 and will rise further to 9.7% in 2009. Industry players in Taiwan's solar cell industry noted that the power conversion rate of 6-6.5% guaranteed by thin-film solar cell equipment makers can hardly compare with that of crystalline-based solar cells, and so look forward towards the penetration of micromorph tandem technology-supported equipment.
Given that the company strongly believes that power conversion rate enhancement is an urgent task for all thin-film solar cell industry players, the executives noted that almost all customers who approached the company were looking for equipment that support the new micromorph tandem technology. They anticipate that orders for the equipment will account for half of total equipment orders in 2008 accordingly.
In an attempt to help guarantee smooth volume production by customers, Oerlikon confirmed recent speculation that the company would establish a laboratory in Asia. The company executives said Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore are all potential locations. Oerlikon said it also remains open to any equipment/parts/materials subcontracting.
On a separate note, Oerlikon said its thin-film solar cell equipment is mostly fabricated at a fifth-generation (5G) line. As the company believes power efficiency is more critical than size, the company has no plan to migrate to a more advanced generation line in near future.
Bei CdTe fehlt noch PrimestarSolar aus den USA. An denen hat GE wohl ca. 20% Anteil neulich eingekauft. Enge Kooperartion bei Techonolgie mit NREL
- Signet Solar
- Moser Baer
- Suntech (?)
- T-Solar (Spanien)
- Malibu (JV Schüco+E.ON)
- SolarMorph (?)
- GET (?)
- Schott Solar
- CMC Magnetics