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High customer interest in the new production line ThinFab

Trübbach (Switzerland), December 20, 2010 - Oerlikon Solar announced today the first upgrade orders for the new production line for thin film silicon modules ThinFab. "The new equipment orders demonstrate the high interest of our customers and the entire solar market in our cost-leading and clean technology," said Helmut Frankenberger, CEO of Oerlikon Solar.

Two customers have ordered Oerlikon Solar equipment of the new ThinFab generation to achieve substantial cost savings. Until now, Oerlikon Solar has successfully built and put into operation twelve production lines throughout the world. On an industrial scale, their output meets highest yield and quality standards.
These most recent wins in orders demonstrate the high interest in the new production line ThinFab from Oerlikon Solar. The ThinFab's competitive advantages are the following:

  • Production costs: The ThinFab reduces the "total cost of ownership" for solar modules to EUR 0.50/Wp - the lowest value in the solar industry.
  • Energy efficiency: Compared to other solar processes, the production of the Oerlikon thin film silicon modules requires the least amount of energy. The so-called "energy payback time" with Oerlikon technology is below one year. 
  • Practical benefits: Thin film silicon modules perform well under real environmental conditions in diffuse light caused by clouds and are best suited for high temperature climates like those prevalent in the desert. Their efficiency remains widely stable, while the efficiency of crystalline solar cells declines significantly.
  • Environmentally friendly: Thin film silicon modules do not contain toxic additives like Cadmium. 
  • Sustainability: The Oerlikon thin film silicon technology has further potential to increase efficiency and productivity. Thus, when the ThinFab was launched past September, Oerlikon also introduced a lab record cell with an efficiency of 11.9 percent - which is nearly two percent higher than the currently reached mass production efficiency of 10 percent with the ThinFab.


The specific advantages of the thin film silicon technology from Oerlikon Solar and its new ThinFab triggered a lively interest of the market. "We are very pleased with the development of our sales pipeline. The likelihood that we can close a first order for a complete ThinFab production line in the first half of 2011 has risen significantly," said Peter Tinner, Global Head of Sales and Marketing of Oerlikon Solar. "With the ThinFab we are offering a very competitive production line for real environmental friendly solar modules" added Michael Buscher, Group CEO of Oerlikon. "Since Oerlikon Solar has recaptured the cost and technology leadership within the solar market we are fully focused on concluding further contracts," so Buscher.

About Oerlikon

Oerlikon (SIX: OERL) is a leading high-tech industrial group specializing in machine and plant engineering. The Company is a provider of innovative industrial solutions and cutting-edge technologies for textile manufacturing, thin film coating, drive, vacuum, solar energy systems and advanced nanotechnology. A Swiss company with a tradition going back 150 years, Oerlikon is a global player with around 16,000 employees at over 150 locations in 36 countries and sales of CHF 2.9 billion in 2009. The Company invests more than CHF 200 million annually in R&D, with over 1,200 specialists working on future products and services. The operative businesses rank either first or second in their respective global markets.

About Oerlikon Solar

Oerlikon Solar designs and manufactures field-proven equipment and turnkey manufacturing lines for the mass production of environmentally sustainable thin film silicon solar modules. With its amorphous and high-efficiency Micromorph® tandem technology, Oerlikon has dramatically increased the efficiency of thin film silicon and created innovative end-to-end manufacturing solutions for thin film PV, enabling new entrants in the fast-growing global PV manufacturing business. Oerlikon Solar leads the thin film solar equipment sector with 14 customers in seven countries, and more than 3.5 million modules produced and 450 MW of capacity produced worldwide.

Oerlikon Solar has Micromorph® patents dating back to 1993, was the first to integrate the high-efficiency Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) layer, and the first to commercialize the high-efficiency Micromorph® process and support the majority of its customers in migrating to it. To date it is the only proven end-to-end Micromorph® solution available on the market, offering lowest cost of electricity $/kWh, and proving highest future cost reduction potential. Certifications from UL and TUV confirm that Oerlikon Solar meets highest quality and reliability standards worldwide. In May 2009, Oerlikon Solar became the first thin film silicon PV technology provider to pass all tests required for its Micromorph® thin film silicon solar PV modules and receive TUV
Rheinland's IEC certification.

Oerlikon Solar thin film silicon modules are produced environmentally friendly with non-toxic materials, and they are ideal for semi-transparent glass and other building-integrated PV (BIPV) applications. Thin film modules perform well in diffuse or lower light, and are best suited for high temperature climates. Its production lines are complete systems, yet modular and upgradeable, so customers have the capability to scale up rapidly with the latest technology to meet fast-growing demand for solar PV, demand that will accelerate as the cost of PV energy approaches grid parity. Oerlikon Solar launched the new production line "ThinFab" for manufacturing of thin film silicon modules, which will achieve record breaking production costs of € 0.50 per Watt peak (Wp). The ThinFab reduces the energy payback-time of thin film silicon modules below one year, with the lowest energy consumption for photovoltaic production plants in the industry.

Oerlikon Solar is headquartered in Switzerland, has about 700 employees in 13 locations worldwide, a number of factories in production around the globe and maintains sales and service centers in the USA, Europe, China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Japan.

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For further information, please contact:

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Head of Group Communications

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