MiaSolé seeks backers following layoffs and reorganization10. August 2012 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Becky Beetz/Jonathan Gifford
U.S.-based copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film photovoltaic module manufacturer, MiaSolé has announced the scaling-back of its manufacturing operations. Media reports put the jobs losses at around 200.
In January, MiaSolé announced that it had introduced staff layoffs due to the "difficult market conditions". While the company declined to provide any specific details, it was believed around 10 percent of its workforce was culled.
Now, the company has said further reductions have been made in both the manufacturing and operations areas. It added that focus will remain on the company’s technology, commercial and flexible product areas.
MiaSolé again declined to divulge the number of layoffs. However, VentureWire has said, according to a person familiar with the situation, that around 200 employees will be affected.
"This restructuring will ensure continued CIGS technology development, execution on our sales pipeline and ongoing development of our flexible product," said MiaSolé in a statement released.
Company CEO, John Carrington went on to say that partners are being sought to take the business forward. "In the near term we need to conserve costs to enable a strategic partnership. The company is looking forward to aligning with a partner and collectively executing on our technology roadmap, flexible product launch and additional capacity to fulfill our 1GW+ commercial pipeline," he said, adding, "I am confident based on current discussions we will finalize a partnership within the next 60-90 days."
The company statement also highlighted that while MiaSolé had access to tax credits, it never used them and that no government funding had been received.
As aforementioned, MiaSolé has chosen to emphasize the prospects of its new flexible products. This appears to indicate that the privately held firm is seeking to wind down or reduce its glass module business and concentrate efforts in the flexible space.
Flexible CIGS producer Global Solar announced in June that its German subsidiary was insolvent and is winding up its operations in the German capital.
While a shift into flexible module production may prove extremely difficult for most other thin film producers, MiaSolé’s processes would allow for this without requiring a complete reorganization and retooling of its fab. It will, however, require capital.
pv magazine toured the MiaSolé manufacturing facilities in Santa Clara during the Intersolar North America last month and saw first-hand the flexible products, which are in an advanced stage of development. Because MiaSolé’s backend processes – the module operation – is separate to the roll-to-roll semiconductor deposition and cell manufacture processes, a shift to flexible module production is possible, without changing the front end.
Rich Hossfeld, VP of Global Business Development and Sales told pv magazine the company believes the prospects in the flexible space are most promising. "Because we start with the cell, it gives us a lot of flexibility at the back end," said Hossfeld, "from an application engineering standpoint."
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