Moves in the CIS/CIGS space

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German thin-film manufacturer, Avancis today announced that production has begun at its second module manufacturing fab, in Tolgau, Germany.

Construction began on the fab, where Avancis’ copper indium selenide (CIS) modules will be produced, in June 2010. The annual capacity will be 100 megawatts (MW), thus bringing the company’s total capacity 120 MW.

Without giving details as to which equipment manufacturer fitted out the fab, Anvancis CEO, Hartmut Fischer was quoted saying, in a statement announcing the milestone, "Our own factory planning team and equipped with the most modern equipment by established German equipment manufactures."

Avancis aims to produce 800,000 modules a year at the Torgau fab. They will be renamed PowerMax STRONG as of January 1.

First Solar ends CIGS program

The Anvancis announcement has come on the same day as the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch website reported that First Solar’s chief technologist, Markus Beck is set to leave the company. Market Watch reports that Beck focused on developing CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) technology and, therefore, his departure signals that the company will no longer continue to develop CIGS.

Before First Solar, Beck previously developed CIGS technology at doomed and controversial manufacturer Solyndra.

It’s been a tough week in other ways for First Solar. Its stocks have declined approximately 20 percent this week after issuing its 2012 guidance, which was significantly below market expectations. In the guidance, First Solar management set out a strategy, which will see the company focus on reducing the cost of its modules for large, power-plant scale projects. As such, the CIGS endeavor is understood to have been brought to a close.

The CdTe (cadmium telluride) manufacturer is coy about its CIGS research and a spokesman from the company would only tell pv magazine that, "we’re always looking at alternative technologies".