Production and manufacturing layoffs temporary?
When I checked my Google alerts this morning, the headline Advent Solar announces layoffs by Jeff Maher caught my immediate attention. I was planning to include photos of their back contact, Emitter Wrap-Through (EWT) solar cells and modules (Italiano) in my Exhibition roundup.
Since Advent Solar is exhibiting here at the 22nd EU PVSEC, it was easy enough to walk over to their stand and get the straight scoop. Per a company spokesperson, the layoff is related to Advent’s decision to retool their 25MWp (MegaWatt-peak) solar cell production line from 125mm to 156mm silicon wafers. Per Rob Day in Advent Solar, SV Solar, TrafficCast, Cyber-Rain and other news, the recent $70 Million in Series D Funding will also be used to expand capacity to about 70MWp. I presume this implies additional lines will be installed while the first line is retooled for 156mm wafers?
It appears Advent started with 125mm wafers because that was what they were able to procure in this rough polysilicon and silicon wafer sourcing environment. And it sounds like the 25MWp capacity was not fully ramped with 125mm wafers anyway.
Even though I saw the Advent solar modules last year in Dresden, I am finding the multicrystalline blue solar cells striking without the front side metal contacts. An Advent spokesperson claimed Italian customers and exhibition visitors are giving the modules rave reviews for aesthetics.
The 23rd EU PVSEC and Exhibition will be held next year, 2008, in Valencia, Spain. No date has been set yet, but late September has been tipped because of various European vacations and holidays. Perhaps I will get to celebrate Labor Day next year.