SCHOTT, the technology group based in Mainz, Germany, inaugurated industrial mass production of thin-film solar modules in Jena by its subsidiary, SCHOTT Solar. By investing a total of 75 million euros towards a state-of-the art manufacturing facility with a module capacity of 33 megawatts (MW) per year, SCHOTT will be creating an additional 180 jobs at its Jena site.
With the Prime Minister of Thuringia, Dieter Althaus, in attendance, Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Board of Management of SCHOTT, emphasized the strategic importance of this production facility: "By engaging in high-technology mass production of thin-film modules, we are creating a second source of revenue for our photovoltaic activities. As with wafer-based technology, we will now be improving our position among the world's leading manufacturers in the field of thin-film technology, as well. Furthermore, we will be turning Jena into a site with strong solar expertise."
SCHOTT Solar produces ASI® thin-film modules based on amorphous silicon (ASI = amorphous silicon) under nearly fully-automated, clean room conditions. This process calls for amorphous silicon to be vapor deposited onto a thin pane of glass. Each day, more than 1,000 framed standard modules 130 x 110 cm in size will be manufactured for roof-top PV systems and ground- mounted PV systems. In addition, SCHOTT Solar also manufactures raw modules in various sizes for customers that provide customized photovoltaic solutions for integration in buildings.
Professor Ungeheuer notes that thin-film technology offers a number of advantages. "Thin-film technology effectively saves raw materials, because it requires far less silicon. Furthermore, as a result of the great flexibility with respect to shape and design, thin-film modules are perfectly suited for integration in buildings. They offer architects interesting possibilities to create glazing applications for windows, roofs and facades in conjunction with environmentally-friendly power generation," he notes.
The SCHOTT Group has consolidated its photovoltaic activities inside its subsidiary SCHOTT Solar, a company that has manufacturing facilities in Alzenau (Bavaria), the Czech Republic and the United States. The main focus lies on manufacturing wafer-based cells and modules. By the year 2010, SCHOTT Solar plans to expand its production capacities to 450 MW per year with respect to both cells and modules.
SCHOTT Solar began pursuing wafer production together with silicon manufacturer WACKER Chemie at the beginning of October, 2007. Only a few days ago, SCHOTT and WACKER officially laid the cornerstone for a new solar wafer manufacturing facility of their joint venture, WACKER SCHOTT Solar, in Jena.
In the field of thin-film technology, SCHOTT Solar has been operating a pilot production facility at its site in Putzbrunn, near Munich, since 1988. This will now be joined by industrial mass production in Jena. SCHOTT Solar also has plans to expand its product capacities for thin-film modules to 100 MW per year by 2010.
In addition to its photovoltaic activities, SCHOTT is also active in the area of solar thermal power plants. SCHOTT Solarthermie, the company's subsidiary based in Mitterteich (Bavaria), manufactures solar receivers as a key component of solar thermal power plants.
SCHOTT is an international technology group that sees its core purpose as the lasting improvement of living and working conditions. For this purpose, special materials, components and systems are developed. The main areas of focus are the household appliances industry, optics and opto-electronics, pharmaceuticals and solar energy. The SCHOTT Group has a presence in proximity to its customers through its production and sales companies in all its major markets. It has approximately 16,800 employees producing worldwide sales of approximately 2.2 billion euros. The company's technological and economic expertise is closely linked with its social and ecological responsibility.