Solar Isn’t A Commodity: The Advantages Of First Solar’s CdTe Technology Explained | Seeking Alpha

Many argue that the solar modules are a commodity, where producers can essentially only compete on price. This is brutally true for solar manufacturers within the same technology, such as crystalline silicon (c-Si), as there is little notable opportunity for differentiation outside of module efficiency improvements.

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First Solar – Growing Confidence In CdTe Technology | Seeking Alpha

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) has experienced an enormous amount of success on the CdTe (cadmium telluride) front over the past few years. In fact, the company is now so confident in its CdTe thin-film technology that it is abandoning its $100 million high-efficiency silicon TetraSun line.

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CTF Solar to supply equipment for CTIEC’S first CdTe module factory | pv magazine

The two parties signed equipment procurement contracts for the 100 MW factory, which will produce cadmium telluride thin-film modules, during the SNEC tradeshow that is currently taking place in Shanghai.Read more

First Solar Hits Record 22.1% Conversion Efficiency for CdTe Solar Cell | gtm:

Once again, the company crushes the previous CdTe cell efficiency record.Read more

Hidden Champions of the Solar Industry are in Germany

New study highlights advanced Thin Film PV supply chain and innovation opportunities in Germany

With the Coal Commission’s recommendation for a complete coal phase-out, and an ambitious goal to achieve 65 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, there is big potential for solar energy in Germany. A new study by DIW Econ draws attention to solar photovoltaics being the cheapest source of energy available today, and that the majority of the growth and expansion of renewables in coming years will come from photovoltaics. The study highlights economic opportunities available in Germany through a significant number of hidden champions in solar: the thin-film photovoltaic technology industry. Unlike crystalline silicon based photovoltaic technology, which was subject to a global commoditization accompanied by a strong shift of the value chain away from Germany, thin-film PV still supports a booming value chain in Germany. The thin film industry has successfully established an average market share between 5 percent (globally) and 10 percent (Germany) over the last 20 years. The new study suggests significant innovation potential for thin-film photovoltaics throughout the country.

Germany houses world market leaders in thin film PV manufacturing equipment, which is highly innovative,“ said Dr. Anselm Mattes, author of the study at DIW Econ. „The industry not only serves the goals for the German Energy Transition, but also enables the low cost and eco-efficient global energy transition.“

Germany’s existing value chain for PV thin-film technology is robust and spans across the country, with more than 85 companies contributing to the sector in research and development, manufacturing, and recycling. The study demonstrates that there has been significant progress in innovation in thin-film technology in recent years, and analyzes its market competitiveness. The report shows thin-film as being the cheapest PV technology with the lowest unsubsidized Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE). It also points to the small carbon footprint of thin-film when compared to other solar technologies.

In order to meet the Energiewende objectives in Germany, and also the global ambition for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the world is in need for all the innovation it can get from renewable energy technologies. Thin-Film PV has an important role to play here, given the track record off efficiency improvements and low cost manufacturing demonstrated over the last two decades. Moving forward, the combination of traditional crystalline silicon with advanced thin-film technologies, in tandem, incorporating bi-facial structures offers a unique opportunity for another quantum leap in terms of efficiency improvement and cost reduction in PV,“ said Andreas Wade, president of non-profit international association, PVThin, „With the strong thin film value chain in Germany, the country is in the ideal position to be at the forefront of these developments and championing the implementation of these next generation concepts.

The report explains that emerging thin-film technologies are showing great potential for further technological development and cost reductions. A testament to potential for German thin-film technological advancements is Oxford PV, a spinoff from Oxford University. The company acquired the former Bosch CISTech factory in Brandenburg an der havel, and has since been ranked one of the Top 50 most innovative companies in the world by the German edition of MIT Technology Review. Oxford PV has developed a tandem solar cell solution that uses its unique perovskite technology that is easily integrated into silicon solar cell and module production lines.

Our perovskite-on-silicon technology is capable of breaking solar cell efficiency limits, and we are expecting to transform the economics of silicon solar technology,” said Chris Case, chief technology officer at Oxford PV, “What we are doing here in Germany will only continue to grow photovoltaic energy generation globally.”

To read the full study and executive summary, visit:




About PVthin

PVthin is an international, not-for-profit coalition representing global leaders in the thin film solar industry that manufacture and market products based on chalcogenide, chalcopyrite and kesterite compounds such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), Copper Indium [Gallium] Selenide (CIS/CIGS) and perovskites. Thin film photovoltaics (PV) emerged onto the market as an affordable alternative to the slow production and high cost of traditional purified crystalline silicon wafers. PVthin is registered as a non-profit international association under Belgian law. For more information, visit



DIW Econ is an economic analysis and consulting firm and is a 100% subsidiary of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Customers primarily consist of German and international companies, but also include international institutions and public clients, such as ministries and educational institutions. For more information, visit


„Hidden Champions“ der Solarindustrie kommen aus Deutschland

Neue Studie zeigt hochentwickelte Wertschöpfungskette und Innovationsmöglichkeiten der Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik in Deutschland

Durch den bevorstehenden Kohleausstieg und den geplanten Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien auf 65% bis zum Jahr 2030 ergibt sich ein enormes Potenzial für Solarenergie in Deutschland. Eine neue Studie von DIW Econ unterstreicht, dass Photovoltaik nicht nur die günstigste Stromerzeugungstechnologie ist, sondern auch einen signifikanten Teil der zukünftigen Stromerzeugung aus erneuerbaren Energien abdecken wird. Die Studie zeigt zudem die hohe Bedeutung der Solarenergie für den Wirtschaftsstandort Deutschland. So gibt es hierzulande zahlreiche „Hidden Champions“ im Bereich der Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik. Anders als kristallines Silizium, das von einer globalen Kommerzialisierung und einer Verlagerung der Wertschöpfungskette weg aus Deutschland betroffen war, besteht im Bereich Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik immer noch eine florierende Wertschöpfungskette in Deutschland. Die Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik konnte ihren Marktanteil in letzten 20 Jahren auf durchschnittlich 5 Prozent (international) bzw. 10 Prozent (in Deutschland) steigern. Laut Studie besteht ein erhebliches Innovationspotenzial für Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik hierzulande.

In Deutschland sind zahlreiche Weltmarktführer im Bereich Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik ansässig“, sagt Dr. Anselm Mattes, Autor der DIW Econ-Studie. „Die Industrie trägt nicht nur zur deutschen Energiewende bei, sondern ermöglicht auch eine kostengünstige und umweltfreundliche globale Energiewende.“

Deutschlands Wertschöpfungskette im Bereich Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik ist robust und erstreckt sich mit mehr als 85 Unternehmen über das gesamte Land und über sämtliche Segmente: von Forschung und Entwicklung über die Herstellung von Modulen und Ausrüstung bis hin zum Recycling. Die Studie zeigt auf, dass in den letzten Jahren erhebliche Fortschritte bei der Innovation der Dünnschichttechnologie erzielt wurden, und sie analysiert die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit des Marktes. Zudem zeigt sie, dass Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik die kostengünstigste Photovoltaik-Technologie mit den geringsten nicht-subventionierten Stromgestehungskosten (LCOE) ist. Nicht zuletzt hat Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik im Vergleich zu anderen Solartechnologien einen geringen CO2-Fußabdruck.

Um die Ziele der Energiewende in Deutschland und globaler Netto-Null-Emissionen bis 2050 zu erreichen, sind wir auf alle Innovationen angewiesen, die sich bei erneuerbaren Energien ergeben können. Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik spielt hier eine wichtige Rolle vor dem Hintergrund der Effizienzverbesserungen und Kostensenkungen der letzten beiden Jahrzehnte. Die Kombination aus traditionellem kristallinem Silizium und fortschrittlichen Dünnschichttechnologien bietet eine einzigartige Chance für einen weiteren Quantensprung in Bezug auf Effizienzsteigerung und Kostensenkung bei Photovoltaik“, sagt Andreas Wade, Präsident der gemeinnützigen internationalen Vereinigung PVThin. „Mit der starken Dünnschicht-Wertschöpfungskette in Deutschland ist das Land in einer idealen Position, um sich bei diesen Entwicklungen an die Spitze zu stellen und die Umsetzung dieser Zukunftstechnologie zu meistern.“

Die Studie erläutert, dass neue Dünnschichttechnologien ein großes Potenzial für weitere technologische Entwicklungen und Kostensenkungen aufweisen. Ein Beweis für das Potenzial deutscher technologischer Fortschritte im Dünnschichtbereich ist Oxford PV, ein Spin-Off der Oxford University. Das Unternehmen hat das ehemalige Bosch CISTech-Werk in Brandenburg an der Havel gekauft und wurde von der deutschen Ausgabe des MIT Technology Review zu den 50 innovativsten Unternehmen der Welt gekürt. Oxford PV hat eine Tandemlösung entwickelt, bei der die einzigartige Perowskit-Technologie verwendet wird, die sich problemlos in Fertigungslinien für Silizium-Solarzellen und -module integrieren lässt.

Mit unserer Perowskit-auf-Silizium-Technologie können wir die bisherigen Effizienzobergrenzen von Solarzellen durchbrechen und dadurch die Wirtschaftlichkeit der Silizium-Solartechnologie revolutionieren“, sagt Chris Case, Chief Technology Officer bei Oxford PV, „Was wir hier in Deutschland umsetzen, wird die Stromerzeugung aus Photovoltaik weltweit weiter vorantreiben.

Lesen Sie die komplette Studie sowie ihre Zusammenfassung unter:




Über PVthin

PVthin ist ein internationaler, gemeinnütziger Zusammenschluss der weltweit führenden Unternehmen der Dünnschicht-Photovoltaikbranche. Diese Unternehmen stellen Produkte auf Basis von Chalcogenid, Chalcopyrit und Kesterit-Verbindungen wie Cadmiumtellurid (CdTe), Kupfer-Indium [Gallium] Selenid (CIS / CIGS) und Perowskit her. Die Dünnschicht-Photovoltaik wurde als erschwingliche Alternative zu herkömmlichen kristallinen Siliziumwafern und deren langsamer Produktion und hohen Kosten auf den Markt gebracht. PVthin ist nach belgischem Recht als gemeinnütziger internationaler Verein eingetragen. Mehr Information erhalten Sie unter



DIW Econ ist ein Wirtschaftsanalyse- und Beratungsunternehmen und eine 100-prozentige Tochtergesellschaft des Deutschen Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin). Zu den Kunden zählen in erster Linie deutsche und internationale Unternehmen, aber auch internationale Institutionen und öffentliche Auftraggeber wie Ministerien und Bildungseinrichtungen. Mehr Information erhalten Sie unter

PVthin | Thin Film PV Technology

NEW STUDY RELEASE: Germany houses the world market leaders in thin film solar photovoltaics. Read the new study conducted by DIW Econ here


PVthin is an international, not-for-profit coalition representing global leaders in the thin film solar industry that manufacture and market products based on chalcogenide, chalcopyrite and kesterite compounds such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), Copper Indium [Gallium] Selenide (CIS/CIGS) and perovskites. Thin film photovoltaics (PV) emerged onto the market as an affordable alternative to the slow production and high cost of traditional purified crystalline silicon wafers. PVthin is registered as a non-profit international association under Belgian law.

Thin film PV was born out of the energy crisis of the 1970s, determined to reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Read more
Thin film PV technologies use up to 99% less semiconductor material to convert sunlight into electricity. Read more
Life Cycle Analysis
Life Cycle Analysis
Life cycle analysis provides an invaluable decision support tool for assessing the environmental impacts of a product or process throughout its life cycle. Read more
Supply Chain
Supply Chain
Suppliers across the thin film PV value chain form the backbone of the industry and have been key to technological advances and successes. Read more
Scientific Council
Scientific Council
PVthin invites leading researchers in the field of thin film photovoltaics to join the PVthin Scientific Council. Read more
Latest news on PV Thin Film technology. Read more

Our Objectives

  • To strengthen global energy security and support the transition to a low carbon economy by promoting thin film solar photovoltaic technologies
  • To cooperate with associations and industries that support responsible product management at end-of-life and internalized holistic environmental footprinting based on Life Cycle Assessment
  • To strongly encourage resource-efficient production, sustainable raw material use and responsible PV recycling and recovery programs and technologies
  • To educate on the potential of thin film PV and the environmental, social, economic and technological advantages of thin film
  • To provide a platform for research into both mature and emerging thin film PV technologies

Our Activities

  • Communicating the benefits of increased deployment of thin film PV for energy security, climate change mitigation and water scarcity
  • Promoting policies that reward thin film PV companies for investments in sustainable business practices such as resource efficiency and advanced closed-loop recycling schemes
  • Sharing and promoting best practices in environment, health and safety management
  • Advancing a recycling standard for PV modules under the EU WEEE Directive within the standardization bodies of the European Union
  • Participating in the development of the European Commission’s Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules for PV electricity generation
  • Supporting the development of an EU Ecolabel for PV based on LCA results to help professionals and consumers assess PV technologies in terms of reliability, technical and environmental performance

The Thin Film PV Value Chain

Click on colored map regions for more information

Raw Material Supplier

Module Manufacturer

Research & Development

Raw Material Supplier

Equipment Supplier

Equipment Manufacturer

Module Manufacturer

Research & Development

Raw Material Supplier

Equipment Supplier

Module Manufacturer


Join us now


PVthin a.i.s.b.l.
c/o Becker Buettner Held
Avenue Marnix 28
1000 Brussels

President: Andreas Wade (First Solar)
Executive Board: Dr. Jochen Fritsche (Calyxo), Jean-Nicolas Beaudry (5N Plus)

Phone: +32 2 204 4400

Von Ardenne inks 700 MW thin-film coatings deal with China National Building Materials | pv magazine

The German deposition equipment provider is latest beneficiary of China National Building Materials’ ambitious solar PV expansion, and will deliver several coating systems for installation at two 300 MW CIGS plants and one 100 MW CdTe fab, all in China.Read more

Scientific Council

PVthin Scientific Council

PVthin invites leading researchers in the field of thin film photovoltaics to join the PVthin Scientific Council. Future objectives will include:

  • Providing guidance on research and development policy positions
  • Recognizing outstanding junior research in the field of thin film PV with the PVthin Research Award
  • Participatingin the European Technology and Innovation Platform PV (ETIP PV) through involvement in the Steering Committee
  • Proposing the inclusion of a dedicated thin film roadmap for the International Technology Roadmap PV (ITRPV)
  • Leveraging PVthin as a platform to promote the unique properties of thin film PV
  • Providing a forum to update research groups on regulatory developments in Europe e.g. the Eco-Labeling and Eco-Design Directives

The PVthin Scientific Council’s input will be crucial in the shaping of regulatory tools for the EU single market for green products which can create market uptake incentives for thin film technologies as a result of their leading environmental profile. A great example of how thin film PV’s superior carbon footprint can translate into tangible business opportunities was demonstrated in France, where over one third of winning bids in the recent French PV tenders were using thin-film PV! The PVthin Scientific Council will help complement the consortium which is currently dominated by crystalline silicon PV companies, led by INES and Fraunhofer ISE.


Ayodhya N. Tiwari
Professor Dr. Ayodhya N. Tiwari is the Head of the Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology (EMPA) and Adjunct Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich). He is the Chairman and a co-founder of Flisom AG, a Swiss company developing and manufacturing innovative light-weight flexible thin film solar modules. Dr. Tiwari has more than 35 years of R&D experience in various photovoltaic technologies. He leads EMPA’s PV group which has made several important contributions in the field of CIGS and CdTe thin film solar cells on glass and flexible substrates including record efficiencies of 20.4% for flexible CIGS cells and 13.8% for flexible CdTe solar cells. Other innovative developments include flexible CIGS solar cells on low cost aluminum foil, the application of simple and safe non-vacuum CIGS and Kesterite deposition processes, as well as high efficiency multi-junction (tandem) solar cells based on CIGS, CdTe, and Dye sensitized solar cells.
Henry J. Snaith
Professor Henry J. Snaith FRS is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and is the Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Oxford Photovoltaics, a pioneering UK solar technology company that is leading the commercialization of perovskite technology. Professor Snaith leads a research group of 20 scientists focused on advancing the next generation of solar technologies including solid-state dye-sensitized, hybrid and perovskite solar cells. His current research is focused on developing new PV materials and understanding and controlling the physical processes that occur within the devices. He has made a number of advances and discoveries, with the most notable being the exciting discovery of metal halide perovskites. Perovskite is the fastest improving solar cell technology known to date. In 2013, Professor Snaith was named one of Nature’s ten people who mattered in 2013, in recognition of his work on next generation solar power technology.
Alessandro Romeo
Professor Alessandro Romeo is an Associate Professor at the University of Verona where he leads research on the preparation, fabrication and characterization of second generation thin film solar cells. As a research fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) in 1997, Professor Romeo developed a process for the deposition of thin film CdTe/CdS solar cells which achieved efficiencies that exceeded 10%. His current research focuses on new applications of CdTe thin film solar cells on flexible substrates, innovative structures, and alternative back contacts that enable high stability and bifacial configurations. By using a transparent conductive oxide as a back contact, the CdTe solar cells are able to absorb light from both sides with efficiencies of more than 10%. Professor Romeo worked closely with the thin film physics group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to achieve a world record efficiency for flexible CdTe solar cells on a polymer substrate. Professor Romeo is also involved in the commercialization of an 18 MW CdTe PV production plant near Milan, the first thin film module manufacturing facility in Italy.
Vasilis Fthenakis
Professor Vasilis Fthenakis is the Founder and Director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis (CLCA) of Columbia University. He also leads the National PV Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Research Center operating at Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy. Professor Fthenakis has led international forums on the life cycle analysis of PV technologies, under the auspices of European Union’s-Joint Research Center (JRC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the International Energy Foundation. In the area of life cycle analysis, Professor Fthenakis concentrated on 2nd generation thin-film photovoltaics for which there were no previous studies. His current research focuses on PV recycling, life-cycle environmental impact analysis, air pollution prevention and control, and modeling of accidental chemical releases. Professor Fthenakis has received multiple Commendations and Certificates of Appreciation from the Department of Energy as well as a Commendation from the Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for his exemplary performance on PV safety analysis reviews.
Martha Christina Lux Steiner
Professor Dr. Martha Christina Lux-Steiner is Head of the Institute for Heterogeneous Material Systems at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and is a Professor of Physics at the Free University of Berlin in German. Her Heterogeneous Material Systems research group focuses on new, highly absorbing semiconductor materials for use in thin-film solar cells. The aim is both the development of new processes and the application of industry-relevant technologies for the production of thin semiconductor layers. Other research areas focus on the development of new wet chemical deposition methods, new solar cell concepts, and new electronic components to develop quantum computers. Professor Lux-Steiner is a member of various international and national advisory boards and committees and has been awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse (Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class) by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1999 for her outstanding achievements in the area of research and development and her efforts to enhance cooperation between research centers and the industry (particularly SMEs and spin-offs) within the Berlin and Brandenburg region.



Thin Film PV Technologies

Life Cycle Analysis

Supply Chain

Suppliers across the thin film PV value chain form the backbone of the industry and have been key to technological advances and successes. From raw material production to providing manufacturing tools, equipment and balance of system (BOS) components, thin film PV suppliers contribute to the continuous and automated production process and help drive down capital costs, increase throughput and improve module efficiencies and reliability.

Supply Chain

Supplier Profiles


Grenzebach manages the entire process of fully automating solar production plants – from factory simulation to installation and commissioning. The company’s expertise lies in the highly precise and gentle treatment of sensitive substrates. This concept also applies to fully automated solutions for the mirrors used in solar-thermal power plants (CSP) and concentrator module manufacturing (CPV). Grenzebach specializes in applications featuring precise and delicate joining with ac-curacies down to 20 µm, contact-free handling and advanced inspection systems. ISO 5 clean environment, SEMI and UL are standard at Grenzebach. Worldwide, more than 40 Grenzebach thin film lines have been installed for CIGS and CdTe technologies. The portfolio ranges from conveyance and buffering technology to in-house developed MES systems.

Grenzebach Solar Roboter 3

@ Grenzebach

Grenzebach Solar Roboter 2

@ Grenzebach

Grenzebach Solar Roboter 1

@ Grenzebach

  • Front end
    The front end of the line produces the substrate. In addition to tracking the substrate ID, the temperature and cleanroom parameters are monitored. The state-of-the-art inspection systems ensure a high-quality standard. Storage systems for interim buffering at the coating and structuring processes in-crease the overall throughput through the front end.
  • Back end
    In the back end of line, the module is produced from the individual substrates. Laser edge deletion, film unwinding, pairing, film trimming and J-Box installation are key processes of our back end. Tailored back rail applications, as well as packaging and warehouse systems, complete the back end product range.


To support the high volume production of any of the present thin film PV technologies Grenzebach supplies large area sputter deposition tools. The main targeted product technologies are back- and front contact coatings including various metal, transparent conductive oxides (TCO – e.g. AZO, ITO, GZO) and absorber layers for e.g. CIGS and CdTe manufacturing lines. All deposition tools employ PVD coating technologies (physical vapour deposition) and are tailored according to our customer needs. The combination of a tailor-made solution based on industrial proven high volume production tools assures utmost high yield and quality of the coating line.

Company History

Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmbH was founded in 1920 as a family-owned agricultural machine repair shop located in the small village of Hamlar, Germany.  In the 1970s, Grenzebach developed the world’s first processing systems to fully automate the float glass production process and went on to become the world’s leading production line automation specialist. Today, Grenzebach is a global company with 1,500 employees and seven production lines across three continents.


VON ARDENNE is an industry-leading coating equipment manufacturer based in Dresden, Germany. The company supplies highly productive inline coaters in all customary sizes for TCO layers, backside contacts and semiconductor layers based on CIS or CdTe. VON ARDENNE’s high-speed coating and deposition equipment has played a crucial role in enabling the thin-film PV industry to grow rapidly.  VON ARDENNE’s magnetron sputtering technology enables the even and precise deposition of semiconductor materials onto sheets of glass or other large-area substrates and ensures both a high manufacturing throughput at optimized costs and consistently high quality.

Vapor deposition

VON ARDENNE’s magnetron sputtering technology “sputters” the coating material (known as the target) by bombarding it with positive gas ions in a medium vacuum. The coating material particles evenly condense onto the substrate as a continuous thin film.

VONARDENNE Salesdepartment Zeppelinstrasse

© VON ARDENNE Corporate Archive

VONARDENNE PIAnova Glass Coating System

© VON ARDENNE Corporate Archive

VONARDENNE Production Site Dresden Weissig

© VON ARDENNE Corporate Archive

VON ARDENNE’s magnetron sputtering technology “sputters” the coating material (known as the target) by bombarding it with positive gas ions in a medium vacuum. The coating material particles evenly condense onto the substrate as a continuous thin film.


Company History

VON ARDENNE GmbH was founded in 1991 as a spin-off company of the former Dresden-based Manfred von Ardenne Research Institute. Manfred von Ardenne was a German physicist who developed the world’s first fully electronic television in 1930. Since its inception, von Ardenne’s Research Institute focused on practical research and development projects that could make the biggest economic impact and be directly applied to the production line. VON ARDENNE GmbH carried the institute’s technological principles to the manufacturing line where it develops and manufactures industrial equipment for vacuum coatings on substrates such as glass, wafers, metal strip and polymer films. Today, VON ARDENNE is the leading provider of glass coating systems and equipment for thin-film PV, with more than 650 employees worldwide.


LPKF is a German manufacturer of thin film PV laser and mechanical structuring tools. LPKF’s high precision high speed laser scribing technology enables cost-effective industrial-scale thin film PV production. During manufacturing, laser scribes are used to monolithically interconnect the individual solar cells and improve the efficiency of thin film PV modules through better area utilization and minimal area losses. LPKF’s laser scriber enables parallel lasers to simultaneously deliver multiple structures, allowing for maximum manufacturing throughput and low production costs.





Company History

LPKF Laser & Electronics AG was founded in 1976 in Garbsen, Germany. LPKF originally began developing and manufacturing precision machines and technologies for the production of circuit board prototypes. Today, LPKF is one of the world’s leading companies in laser micromaterial processing and its laser systems are used in the electronics and automobile industries, medical and plastics technology and in the production of thin film solar cells.  LPKF operates globally with approximately 780 employees.

5N Plus

5N Plus is a Canadian producer of high-purity metals and compounds for electronics including thin film PV applications. The company is a leading supplier of cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as gallium, indium, selenium and related compounds which are critical components of thin film PV technologies. 5N Plus also offers recycling services for the recovery of various metals from industrial byproducts and concentrates for sustainable use in CdTe and CIGS PV modules.


Company History

5N Plus derives its name from the purity of its products which are more than 99.999 % pure (5 nines or 5N+). 5N Plus was founded in Montréal, Canada in 2000 by former-ANRAD Corporation (formerly Noranda Advanced Materials) employees led by Jacques L’Écuyer who decided to start their own company through a management buy-out of certain assets. In 2007, 5N Plus began constructing a manufacturing facility in Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany, ideally suited for the production and recycling of products for the solar industry. Today, 5N Plus is a leading producer of specialty metal and chemical products for the thin film PV industry. The company employs nearly 700 people worldwide and operates manufacturing facilities and sales offices across Europe, the Americas and Asia.


© 5N Plus