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Stion likely to set up CIGS PV panel factory in Taiwan

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CIOL Bureau
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TAIPEI, INDIA: California-based thin-film PV panel maker Stion is reportedly planning to set up a CIGS factory in Taiwan, which is expected to have a negative impact on TSMC. Stion is licensing CIGS technology to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

TSMC and Stion have signed a series of agreements which give TSMC licensed use of Stion-developed CIGS thin-film PV panel technology and to supply a volume of thin-film PV panels to Stion. According to Digitimes, a 21 p.c stake in Stion will be given to TSMC with investment of US$50 million. TSMC broke ground on September 16 to construct its Thin-film Solar R&D Center and Fab with total floor space of 110,000 square meters on a 5.2-hectare site at the Central Taiwan Science Park, which would enable them to develop thin-film PV panels including CIGS.

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Citing sources, it said that one of the reasons that Stion is setting up the factory is that TSMC has not purchased Stion’s CIGS technology; they have only acquired a license to use it. Another reason is that the Taiwan government has offered incentives to attract local and foreign enterprises to invest in non-conventional industries like PV, which has gained Stion’s interest.

TSMC has indicated that it does not know details of Stion's investment and adds that TMSC is a shareholder of Stion, but is not involved in Stion's operational affairs. The company pointed out that since CIGS thin-film PV panels account for nearly none of the global PV output, the development potential of CIGS has large room to accommodate many players

The California Energy Commission had recently approved three loans totaling more than $10.5 million for California-based manufacturers of solar products, including Stion. The low interest loans are part of the state's Clean Energy Business Financing Program (CEBFP) that is providing approximately $30 million in federal stimulus money to eligible businesses that create or retain clean energy manufacturing jobs in California.

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