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TSMC Incredibly Low Solar Module Cost Target of 19c/watt Sounds Very Scary for the Competition

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TSMC the Taiwanese Semiconductor Giant fundamentally changed the Industry with its Fabless Outsourcing Model.Now it is looking to make a giant entry into the related Solar Industry as well.It made a late but smart entry into the Solar Energy Manufacturing Industry by taking up stakes in Motech and Stion.After some months of strategizing,it had decided to focus on Solar Thin Film CIGs Technology instead of the mainstream Crystalline Silicon Technology.It had tied up with Khosla backed startup Stion for the Technology and has now broken ground on a CIGs Fab in Taiwan.The company is customizing equipment bought from local equipment suppliers like Kenmec and others.It’s Cost Targets and Expansion Plans are downright scary for the competition as the costs are almost 80% lower than what the cheapest solar suppliers are making panels at.

TSMC Cost Targets Would be Incredulous coming from any other Company

TSMC has said that it would look to become amongst the top 5 suppliers in the world in the next 5 years and looks at a Cost  per Watt of only 19c/watt  in the next 3 years which would be further reduced to 14c/watt.This is much lower than the current costs for the Solar Leader First Solar which is at around  75c/watt.This target if achieved would make solar energy the cheapest form of energy and would definitely make TSMC No.1.Note First Solar is planning a cost target of 52c/watt in the next few years.TSMC is planning to start production in Q211 with 200 MW of production planned for 2012.

TSMC to adopt solar equipment from Taiwan suppliers – DigiTimes

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) plans to adopt automation systems from Taiwan-based equipment suppliers for producing CIGS thin-film solar cells, according to Rick Tsai, president of TSMC’s new business division. Tsai did not disclose any names.

Industry sources have named Gallant Precision Machining (GPM), Kenmec Mechanical Engineering, Mirle Automation and Usun Technology as likely beneficiaries of TSMC’s orders for PV manufacturing equipment in 2011.

Tsai noted TSMC is now working with several Taiwan-based equipment makers, which are capable of developing a broad portfolio of products for making solar cells. To obtain equipment at a lower cost and with faster delivery times allows the company to offer more competitive prices, Tsai added.

TSMC aims to lower costs of CIGS thin-film solar modules to US$0.19/W within the next three years, and drop the level further to US$0.14/W within the next five years, according to Tsai.


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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