Report: UMC solar venture aims for mid-2008 ramp

November 19, 2007 – NexPower Technology, a thin-film solar cell maker colaunched by UMC and affiliate Unimicron Technology Corp., is planning to ramp to volume production by mid-2008, targeting annual capacity of 12.5 peak megawatts (MWp), according to Digitimes, citing comments by company GM SM Wang quoted in the Chinese Economic Daily News.

Construction of NexPower’s plant in the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung is said to be completed soon, with equipment installation slated for early 2008. A second production line to be installed in 2009 will double total capacity to 25MWp.

Wang agreed with some industry views that thin-film solar cell production remains daunting, and that challenges greater than expected, particularly capex requirements, but reiterated that non-crystalline silicon-based (c-Si) solar cells are more suitable for long-term investment. The company aims to grow its power conversion rate by 1-2 percentage points/year, each point of which will reduce costs by 16%, he noted.

The company has rented another eight-hectare plot of land in the Taiwan park for a planned three thin-film solar production plants, with projected investment of about US S$92, but only when power conversion efficiency guidelines are met will the company plan for next-stage capacity, he said, according to the Chinese paper.


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