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Taiwan’s E-Ton launches a new firm to make thin film solar cells

December 22nd, 2008 by kalyan89 in PV Industry - Asia, PV-General, SC Company Reports

Taipei, Taiwan,Oct 25, 2008 (Reuters)

Taiwan’s E-Ton Solar has joined with Lite-On Technology Corp, Hermes-Epitek Corp. and MiTAC-SYNNEX Group to establish a firm to make thin-film solar cells, the company said late on Thursday. E-Ton and photovoltaic parts maker Lite-On will be the largest shareholders with 23.9 percent each in the company,which will have an initial capacity of up to 60 megawatts (MW) and have the manufacturing facilities fully installed by theend of 2008, the company said in an e-mail statement.

Thin-film technology is potentially much cheaper to produce than traditional crystalline polysilicon solar cells. Capacity at the company, called Auria Co., Ltd, is expected to grow by 60 MW per year, said E-Ton, and was established with an initial capital of T$1.4 billion ($43 million). No details were offered on the stakes held by Hermes-Epitek and MiTAC-SYNNEX and other unamed venture capital companies.

Tight supply of silicon due to a booming market as oil prices soar and comparatively high costs of generating electricity from traditional crystalline solar cells is fuelling a rush of investment into thin-film technology. The list of thin-film producers is growing and now includes the world’s top two solar panel makers, Japan’s Sharp Corp (6753.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and German-based Q-Cells AG (QCEG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research).

Industry executives say thin-film technology, while not yet as efficient at turning sunlight into power compared to crystalline cells, is more flexible and potentially transparent making it suitable for deployment over large areas such as in the windows of skyscrapers.