United Solar Systems Corp announced the official launch of the world’s largest thin-film solar cell manufacturing machine and associated assembly equipment at its Bekaert ECD Solar Systems plant (its joint venture with Bekaert) in Auburn Hills , Michigan.
Auburn Hills, Michigan, June 24, 2002 – United Solar Systems Corp., a joint venture between Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENER) and NV Bekaert SA, announced the official launch of the world’s largest thin-film solar cell. world manufacturing machine and related assembly equipment at its Bekaert ECD Solar Systems plant (its joint venture with Bekaert) in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
The new machine is capable of producing nine thousand solar cells in three days, making United Solar and Bekaert ECD one of the four largest producers of solar cells and related products in the United States as well as one of the largest producers. of the world.
The manufacturing equipment, designed and built by ECD, is the world’s largest and most advanced production machine for manufacturing thin-film amorphous silicon alloy solar cells and related products that convert sunlight in electricity. The products are used for a variety of applications ranging from 2-3 watt solar lanterns to large 500 kilowatt solar farms. Due to the unique characteristics of United Solar’s solar cell technology, such as lightness, strength and flexibility, they are ideal as building-integrated photovoltaic roofing systems for residential and industrial customers.
US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham congratulating United Solar on the inauguration of the plant said: “This announcement of the world’s largest thin-film solar cell manufacturing plant comes at a time when the nation is facing growing concerns about energy, security and reliability. from the electrical network. The photovoltaic products you market are an important answer. He also noted: “We at the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are particularly proud of your accomplishments and are honored to have worked with you on contracts that have achieved world record yields. in amorphous silicon alloy solar cells and modules. , the development of award-winning products such as solar roofing shingles, and the development of your proprietary roll-to-roll manufacturing process. “
Subhendu Guha, President of United Solar and Bekaert ECD, said, “Building on the pioneering materials, devices and production technology of its parent company, ECD, United Solar is the world leader in cell development and High efficiency amorphous silicon alloy solar modules. . With this new plant, we now have the production capacity to meet the growing market demand for solar energy. “
Commenting on the new manufacturing facility, Stanford R. Ovshinsky, the initiator of the multi-junction roll-to-roll process and CEO and Chairman of United Solar and Chairman and CEO of ECD, and Robert C. Stempel, Chairman of ECD, in a joint statement said: “We are pleased to have been able to achieve this historic milestone in cooperation with our joint venture partner Bekaert. With the growing need for energy independence and the problems associated with the negative environmental impact of conventional fuels, we are happy to be part of the solution. We are looking forward to further increasing our capacity in the future. “
Guy Haemers, CEO of Bekaert ECD and Corporate Vice President of NV Bekaert SA, said: “With this plant, we are entering the full industrialization of a unique technology allowing us to accelerate the growth of the company. The European market is growing. , and we hope to gain more market share with the commissioning of the plant. “
“The new facility demonstrates Michigan’s commitment and growing role as a global center for new, environmentally friendly technologies that can dramatically reduce the country’s dependence on oil and fossil fuels,” said US Senator Carl Levin (D., Michigan).
ECD pioneered and developed the continuous roll-to-roll solar cell deposition process (analogous to low cost mass production processes such as newsprint or photographic film). ECD and United Solar hold the fundamental patents for this technology. This approach is unique in industry and in high volume production (100 MW) allows solar energy to become competitive with conventional fuels.