Analyst: Turnkey TF lines boosted 2008 PV tools

Feb. 4, 2009 – Applied Materials, Oerlikon, and Ulvac all enjoyed record business in 2008 for PV cell manufacturing equipment sales, thanks to the “rise of the turnkey thin-film line” as the key trend for the year, according to VLSI Research.

Applied notably took the top spot in a list otherwise dominated by European suppliers, according to VLSI’s preliminary rankings, thanks to “a huge jump in sales” attributed to both M&A additions and recognition of revenue from its first SunFab turnkey installations (by November seven SunFab customers had received shipments.

Bunched together behind Applied were (in order) Roth & Rau, Centrotherm, Oerlikon, and Ulvac, all separated by only $35M. Manz Automation, Schmid Gruppe, von Ardenne, RENA, and 3S round out the top 10.

Despite pegging 2008 as the Year of Turnkey Thin Film, VLSI analyst Andrew Thomas noted that growth was strong across all cell technologies despite the tough economic conditions that unfolded later in the year. For 2009 he projects some slowdown of growth in the sector while global economies continue to thaw, but various governments’ commitments to expand and invest in renewable energy should “ensure continued growth.”

Top 10 suppliers of PV cell manufacturing equipment, 2008 (preliminary, in US $M). (Source: VLSI Research)


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