Midsummer sells first CIGS line to EU manufacturer

The difficulties facing photovoltaic equipment suppliers are well understood, with orders hard to come by as the photovoltaic market labors under a glut of supply. However that is not to say that sales cannot be made. This was evident late last week with Swedish turnkey CIGS equipment supplier Midsummer confirming its first sale into the EU.

While the customer remains anonymous, Midsummer claims that the sale confirms that there is a market opportunity for suppliers, "if you have the right product," CEO Sven Lineström told pv magazine. "We’re seeing very good interest in our systems," he continued.

Lineström confirmed that the turnkey line sold will have annual production capacity of 10 MW and the sale was to an established installer of modules and complete solar parks. The customer will produce regular glass panels from the Midsummer cells it produces, but is, "exited about the possibilities of the flexible modules and has already secured some orders for flexible panels," said Linström.

The standard Midsummer DUO system has a 5 MW annual production capacity, and the CEO Linström added that companies are looking for smaller capacities, instead of making major investments. "Today companies do not want to start with a huge investment and 50-60 MW production capacity, instead they prefer to start with 5-10 MW and then ramp up the capacity as the sales increase."

As the sale is for a turnkey system, the Midsummer team take full responsibility for installing the equipment, processes and also the ramp up.

The Midsummer DUO draws on optical disk manufacturing techniques, to deposit a CIGS semiconductor onto a stainless-steel substrate. Rather than roll-to-roll deposition, the Swedish firm first "punches out" individual cells from the stainless roll. An advantage of this process, Midsummer claims, is that R&D processes can be accelerated. Small changes to the deposition process can be made cell-by-cell rather than roll-by-roll.

A secondary advantage to the product, according to the startup, is that the turkey system is relatively compact. Midsummer operates a line at its base in Jarfalla as a demonstration and R&D line.

This most recent sale is Midsummer’s first in the EU, with one previous order having come from Asia – back in 2011. Midsummer has confirmed with pv magazine that that line is in operation.