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Can Oerlikon Turnaround its ailing Solar Thin Film Equipment Business

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Oerlikon,the Swiss company has been doggedly trying to build up its Amorphous Silicon Thin Film Equipment Business for the last 3-4 Years.The business took a big hit after the 2008 Lehman Crisis when Polysilicon Prices crashed.Thin Film Equipment which was compensating its low efficiency compared with crystalline Silicon (c-Si) modules with low costs found its cost competitiveness suddenly disappear.Applied Materials which was the 800 lb Gorilla in the a-Si Thin Film Equipment raking in Billions of Dollars in Orders from established Solar Leaders like Q-Cells and Suntech also found itself in trouble.With its SunFab Division leading Millions of Dollars and fast losing its economic viability,AMAT was forced to conduct Euthanisia.Its customers like SunFilm,Moser Baer,Suntech also have pretty much shut down their factories writing off large investments.However Oerlikon is not giving up like AMAT

Oerlikon Rapidly Improving Efficiency and Costs but can it Catch Up with Crystalline Silicon

Oerlikon has said that its new generation equipment will cuts cost to 70c/watt and improve efficiency to 10% from the current 9%.This equipment will be shipped to Asian customers like Astroenergy by 2012 making it competitive with other solar technologies.However note that First Solar which is the Thin Film Leader already has costs of around 75c/watt at 11.9% efficiency.Also best in class c-Si Modules already have reached $1/watt in costs with 16% efficiency.This means that Oerlikon despite its rapid improvements will have to run even faster to catch up.Besides other Thin Film Technology CIGS is making huge strides as well.Miasole,Nanosolar,Global Solar,AQT,Stion-TSMC have made huge improvements in efficiency and costs.Sharp is leading the a-Si pack with a planned 1 GW capacity in Sakai and a JV to produce and install a-Si Modules with ST and Enel Green Power.The competition in the Solar Sector remains stiff and despite Oerlikon’s determination,it still remains a long shot to make it big in the Solar Sweepstakes.

Oerlikon Sees Debut of New Solar Panel Equipment Range in Asia – Bloomberg

Oerlikon aims to restore profitability to its solar division after a plunge in demand. The new machine, which cuts manufacturing costs to 50 euro cents (64 U.S. cents) per watt, is designed to take on crystalline silicon technology used in the production of solar panels, where production costs stand at about 1 euro per watt.The Swiss company’s first-half orders for its thin-film module-making equipment dropped 98 percent to 11 million francs ($10 million). Buscher said he expects an increased order intake from next year as the new machine grabs market share.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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