Q-Cells AG to Invest in CIGS Thin-Film PV Technology

Q-Cells AG is investing in a new photovoltaic (PV) technology to complement its current technology portfolio by joining forces with Solibro AB from Uppsala, Sweden, to set up Solibro GmbH, in which Q-Cells will hold a share of 67.5%.

Solibro GmbH will commercialize the copper indium gallium di-selenide (CIGS) thin-film technology developed in Sweden by Solibro AB. Plans include building an initial factory in Thalheim, which will have an annual production capacity of 25 to 30 megawatt-peak (MWp). Q-Cells AG will initially pay Solibro AB Euro 4 million [US$5 million] for its 67.5% share and Euro 20 million [US$26 million] against the achievement of technological milestones, and has committed Euro 60 million to the joint venture. The parties involved are expected to take a decision on the construction of the first production site in Thalheim by mid-2007, after which Euro 60 million [US$80 million] will be invested in this first stage of expansion. Solibro AB is a spin-off from the widely renowned CIGS research group at the University of Uppsala’s Angstrom Solar Center with a technology developed with the support from the Swedish Energy Agency. Ownership of the technology developed by Solibro AB, for which three patent applications have been filed, and all related assets will be transferred to Solibro GmbH. Solibro processes at its pilot line in Uppsala solar active CIGS layers on glass substrates of industrial size. Out of these coated substrates modules with efficiencies exceeding 11.5% (independently confirmed) have been achieved. Based on a closely related technology, the affiliated research group at the Angstrom Solar Center has realized efficiencies of up to 16.6% (minimodules) and 18.5% (solar cells) under laboratory conditions.