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Taiwan gov’t invests in CIGS maker

PV Next, a JV between optical-disc maker Ritek and Netherlands solar firm Scheuten Solar to make copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar-cell modules, has received investment from Taiwan’s government’s investment arm — and drawn criticism from local industry, according to local reports.

August 13, 2009 –  PV Next, a JV between optical-disc maker Ritek and Netherlands solar firm Scheuten Solar to make copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar-cell modules, has received investment from Taiwan’s government’s investment arm — and drawn criticism from local industry, according to local reports.

The National Development Fund of the Taiwan Cabinet recently bought a 25% stake from the firm’s recent share sale for about US $15.4M; it’s the fund’s first investment since publicly announcing support for green-energy in April, and the largest single-enterprise investment in recent years, notes the Taiwan Economic News. The JV plans an eventual public offering in Taiwan or overseas within three years, the paper added, citing unidentified “industry insiders.”

However, another batch of unidentified module makers doesn’t like the investment, arguing that it’s a waste of taxpayer money because of Ritek’s “impossible” goal of 17% conversion efficiency, according to Digitimes. Response from the fund’s officials reportedly was that owners Scheuten and Ritek hold >71% ownership together and face much more risk, the report noted.