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Printed Electronics World
Posted on September 17, 2010 by  & 

TSMC begins building solar R&D center and fab in central Taiwan

Chasing flexible photovoltaics
Thin film photovoltaics PV constitutes most of the potential demand for photovoltaics - by far. Usually that means flexible versions eagerly sought in the marketplace
Potential locations - automotive
PV on cars must last 15 years -the life of the car - so developers of vehicle PV such as Research Center Fiat in the Fiat Group seek lightweight, conformal PV with 15 years life that is preferably transparent. Fiat Group encompasses Fiat and Ferrari cars, New Holland agricultural equipment, industrial vehicles and much more and there is an interest in electrifying them all, with energy harvesting part of that equation.
Many other potential applications
Other potential applications include consumer packaged goods and point of sale materials, fitting on houses without roof strengthening. Organic, DSSC (dye sensitised solar cells which combine inorganic and organic materials) and copper indium gallium diselenide CIGS PV are potentially or actually printed reel to reel in high volume, which can provide the lowest cost product that is also more attractive to users because it can be rollable and even conformal. there are other chemistires as well that could be used in high volume flexible PV production in due course.
Wide variety of needs
This will see it used on such things as Dust Networks, GE Energy Services and Omnisense Wireless Sensor Networks WSN, e-readers based on E-Ink, Liquavista and Bridgestone Technologies, Adidas apparel, medical disposables and energy harvesting medical instruments for the third world and elsewhere from Biorasis Inc.
CIGS PV may be a more convenient size for eg thin film batteries from Cymbet and Infinite Power Solutions that support electronic interfacing circuits.
However, organic and DSSC printed or thin film PV has efficiency in production of no more than a few percent and life of no more than five years and, although there are still huge markets for such products, CIGS promises to exceed those parameters earlier in low cost form.
A place for all three technologies
Will they be lightweight enough for PC-Aero and ETH Zurich pure electric airctraft? IDTechEx believes there is a place for all these thin film technologies including printed ones because they offer different compromises of price and performance.
New initiative
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) broke ground yesterday in Taichung's Central Taiwan Science Park on the company's first Thin Film Solar R&D Center and Fab, laying the foundation for the company's entry into the thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) market.
"TSMC's New Businesses team has reached many important milestones since it was formed last year, first with our LED facility in Hsinchu, and now with construction in Taichung on our first solar facility. Our solar and LED businesses will not only bolster TSMC's revenue and profit growth in the coming decades, they also play a key role in TSMC's corporate social responsibility by making products that support a greener earth." said TSMC Chairman and CEO Dr. Morris Chang. "In addition, construction of this solar R&D center and fab, along with our Fab 15 Gigafab next to it, means Taichung's Central Taiwan Science Park will become home to much of TSMC's most advanced and innovative production."
Seeking leadership
"The research performed at this R&D center will help us achieve our goal of offering a leading thin-film solution and the production at this fab, drawing on TSMC's wealth of manufacturing know-how, will pave the way for us to become a top provider of solar PV modules, said Dr. Rick Tsai, TSMC President of New Businesses."
Large investment
TSMC plans to invest US$258 million for the first phase of the Thin Film Solar R&D Center and Fab, which is scheduled for equipment move-in in the second quarter of 2011 and achieve initial volume production of 200MW (megawatts) per year in thin-film photovoltaic modules in 2012.
Second phase
The company also plans to add a second phase to the facility and expand production to more than 700MW, employing about 2,000 total staff in the facility.
Advancing CIGS technology
In addition, the R&D center in the facility will continue to develop the CIGS technology licensed from Stion in June of this year. TSMC will offer its solar products around the world under its own brand.
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