Solar Manufacturer Secures Major Contract

Solar energy products manufacturer Photowatt, a subsidiary of ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. has been awarded a major contract for the supply of photovoltaic solar modules over the next 12 months with an estimated value of CAD$31.1 million (US$20.9 million).

Cambridge, Ontario – March 21, 2003 [] The solar modules will be manufactured and sold by Photowatt International S.A. located in Bourgoin-Jallieu, France over the next year. The customer, who Photowatt refused to reveal citing a confidentiality agreement, is a leading international solar systems supplier and installer. Shipments will commence later this month and are expected to be made monthly thereafter through the balance of the contract term. “This is an attractive and large contract for Photowatt which significantly firms up a major portion of our solar revenue targets for fiscal 2004,” said Klaus Woerner, President and CEO of ATS. “Of equal importance, this is a new customer for Photowatt, one which is a world leader in PV solar systems, and there is potential for further revenues through contract options and extensions into 2004. This contract was won in a competitive environment and confirms the world class quality of our products and our production efficiencies gained as a result of the investments ATS has made in automating Photowatt since we acquired it in 1997.” ATS, a company focused on industrial automation, has made a significant commitment to manufacturing solar energy cells and modules, first through its Photowatt operations and more recently through Spheral Solar Power, which will launch its first products – based on revolutionary next generation solar technology – later this year. ATS has increased the annual capacity of Photowatt from approximately 4 MW at acquisition to an estimated 25 MW of global module manufacturing capacity today. This has been achieved through improved manufacturing throughput and efficiency and by increasing the power generating efficiency of the company’s solar cells. During the past 12 months, Photowatt has been rapidly increasing its module manufacturing capacity to better match its solar cell output with the changing requirements of customers. This contract is expected to be fulfilled with the existing and previously planned investments for Photowatt. The contract is for the supply of Photowatt’s largest power modules, model PW 1650. The PW 1650 series modules use Photowatt’s multi crystalline technology. The solar cells are individually characterized and electronically matched prior to interconnection. Encapsulation beneath high transmission tempered glass is accomplished using an advanced, UV resistant thermal setting plastic. The encapsulation, ethylene vinyl acetate, cushions the operating characteristics of the solar cell under virtually any climatic conditions. The rear surface of the module is completely sealed from moisture and mechanical damage by a continuous high strength polymer sheet. The glass/tedlar construction of the module minimizes weight while providing a durable, protective environment for the solar cells.
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