Amtech/Tempress secures US$60 million in solar tool orders

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As the latest in a wave of new manufacturing equipment orders that have been announced in recent weeks, tool maker Amtech Systems announced yesterday that it has already received US$60 million (€56 million) in solar equipment bookings in its fiscal year 2017, which began on October 1.

This includes orders for the company’s plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) platform from “top tier” PV makers in China, Malaysia and Taiwan, as well as an order for a turnkey line to produce n-type bi-facial PV products from a new customer in China. Amtech states that this customer will produce bi-facial glass-glass modules as the first part of a 1 GW PV cell and module expansion.

The press release was listed on both the sites of U.S.-based Amtech Systems and its Dutch subsidiary Tempress, which makes Amtech’s PECVD tools.

Amtech President and CEO Fokko Pettinga notes that these orders represent investments in “next-generation” technologies, and that it is seeing increased customer interest in its n-type technology solutions. “As the solar market looks to the future, we believe n-type cell technology has the best roadmap to higher efficiency,” states Pettinga.

Amtech’s order announcement follows closely on Meyer Burger’s announcement of €18 million in new orders, as well as Manz’s announcement of a €263 million tool order as part of the transfer of its thin-film solar R&D to a joint venture with Shanghai Electric and Shenhua.

These orders further establish what was already a winning streak for tool makers. German engineering federation VDMA reported a 1.5 book to bill ratio for the third quarter of 2016, with a greater volume of orders in the first nine months of the year compared to the whole of 2015.