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  • Oerlikon Solar's Micromorph® end-to-end production line enabled rapid path to production
  • Pramac Group facility could nearly double Switzerland's solar photovoltaic capacity in just one year
  • 150 high-tech jobs created in the region

Riazzino/Trübbach, July 23, 2009 - The Pramac Group and Oerlikon Solar announced today that production has begun at Switzerland's largest solar module manufacturing facility. Oerlikon Solar's leading Micromorph® end-to-end manufacturing solution enabled Pramac to reach production just seven months after completing their facility. The plant, near Locarno, Switzerland, will produce 30 MWp (megawatt peak) of thin-film solar panels each year and create 150 high-tech jobs in the region.

"We are pleased to begin production so soon after building our factory, because it allows us to address the fast-growing solar market and gain a return on our investment more quickly," said Paolo Campinotti, CEO of Pramac Group. "Pramac is benefitting from Oerlikon Solar's renown technology, ramp-up experience and reputation to deliver in the solar world."

In the capital-intensive solar module manufacturing business, it is important to minimize the amount of time between the start of construction and the start of commercial production and revenues. Implementing an end-to-end solution can reduce the delay and uncertainty of construction time, production ramp-up and module certification.

"We look forward to supporting Pramac as they further expand their production of thin-film solar modules," said Jeannine Sargent, CEO of Oerlikon Solar. "Working with our partners, we are committed to making solar power affordable and competitive with other forms of electricity generation. We are especially pleased to participate in launching Switzerland's first thin-film silicon module volume production line based upon our Micromorph® technology, which was invented here in Switzerland, in Neuchâtel."

A quarter of a million modules per year

This phase of the Pramac facility will produce approximately 250,000 solar modules each year. One year's worth of output from the facility would be able to cover the approximate area of all of the currently installed photovoltaic installations in Switzerland.

With Oerlikon Solar's innovative thin-film photovoltaic manufacturing technology, solar modules can be produced for 30 percent less than conventional silicon-wafer-based technology. Based on predicted market growth, Pramac plans to expand the plant's capacity over the coming years. The factory will employ nearly 150 people, and is Pramac's first solar production location.

Oerlikon Solar Customer Momentum

Worldwide, 10 companies have contracted with Oerlikon Solar to build thin-film manufacturing lines since 2006. Oerlikon Solar's customers will represent more than 600 megawatts of current thin-film solar production around the globe. Several of them have signed long-term supply agreements to distribute the modules produced by Oerlikon Solar's equipment, demonstrating strong market demand for thin-film silicon solar modules.

"Just one more milestone in Oerlikon Solar's mission to make solar power economically viable "

A comprehensive press kit including further information, pictures of the Pramac facility and presentations is available in the media section at Press Kit


About Oerlikon Solar

Oerlikon Solar offers field proven equipment and end-to-end manufacturing lines for the mass production of thin film silicon solar modules. Engineered to reduce device cost and maximize productivity, its end-to-end solutions are fully automated, high yield, high uptime, and low maintenance.

The production lines are complete systems, yet modular and upgradeable in both throughput and process technology. As a global leader in thin film PV technology, the company provides its customers with extensive experience in both amorphous and high-efficiency Micromorph® tandem technology.

Oerlikon Solar is ranked "global number one solar turnkey line supplier" by VLSI and has been named winner of the 2009 CELL AWARD for the "best technical product for thin film module manufacturing".

Oerlikon Solar is headquartered in Switzerland, has over 750 employees in 13 locations world wide and maintains sales and service centres in the USA, Europe and China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Japan.

About Pramac

Pramac is a leading company in the sector of the production and distribution of electrical generation systems and is also active in the sector of handling equipment. The Group is active globally with four production facilities, of which one in Italy (in Casole d'Elsa, Siena) and three abroad (Spain, France and China). It operates a distribution network comprised of 17 commercial branches and employs about 750 people at the Group level. It has recently signed a joint venture agreement with the Prosolia Group for the distribution and installation of photovoltaic panels.

For further information, please contact:

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Sara Vermeulen-Anastasi

Head of Group Communications

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