The upgrade is due to start next January and will be finalized and ready for mass production by March, according to Ma Wenxue, general manager of Tianwei.
"This upgrade from Tianwei, demonstrates the competitiveness and innovative advantage of our thin film silicon technology. We will continue to consistently implement our technology roadmap to further strengthen our position in the solar market," added Michael Buscher, CEO of Oerlikon Group.
Tianwei’s capacity expansion comes at a time when the global photovoltaic market (PV) is growing faster than ever, says Oerlikon. Analyst firm iSuppli predicts the worldwide PV market will surpass 13 gigawatts (GW) in 2010, which is almost twice the size of the market in 2009. The growth is occurring despite reduction of government incentives in key markets, which demonstrates the competitiveness of low-cost crystalline and low cost thin film technology, continues the company.
In a statement, it said: "Over the past years, Oerlikon Solar has made impressive progress on its technology roadmap as it looks to drive down the cost of solar technology. It has achieved more than 50 percent reduction in cost of ownership since 2008.
"The company is on track to achieve $0.70/W by the end of 2010 with further reduction potential in order to position solar power to be directly competitive with other renewable energy sources, and even conventional energy in growing portions of world energy markets."