US: Stion opens thin film factory; hits new thin film efficiency

The factory is said to be the first of its kind in southeastern U.S. According to Stion, the first phase of the thin film project includes a 100 MW manufacturing line, which will involve over $100 million in investment and 200 direct jobs in 2011 and 2012. Production of the photovoltaic modules is expected to begin later this year.
However, over the next five years, the venture is expected to create 1,000 jobs and involve USD$500 million in investment. pv magazine is waiting to hear back on what exactly the next phases of the project are.
Already, Stion says that 100 local employees have been hired, and recruiting and training programs with Pearl River Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi have been implemented.
Record efficiency
In other news, Stion has achieved 4.1 percent efficiency for its production-scale (65 cm x 165 cm) thin film circuits. The results, say the company, have been verified by NREL.
According to Stion, this is the highest efficiency to have been demonstrated for a monolithically integrated thin film circuit at production scale. "Exceeding 14 percent efficiency at production scale represents a significant advancement for CIGS-based thin film technologies," commented Chet Farris, Stion’s President and CEO.
Rommel Noufi, the lead researcher for thin film solar cells at NREL added, "This is a truly outstanding result and we congratulate Stion on its tremendous progress. Achieving 14.1 percent efficiency over a large area is indicative of the exceptional process control and uniformity delivered by Stion’s technology, and also speaks to the continued improvement potential for CIGS-based technologies to meet the DOE SunShot goal of price parity by the end of this decade."