Former AstroPower solar module facility continues manufacturing as Motech Americas, LLC.
Motech Industries Inc. (TPO:6244) “launches the production of two new high performance polycrystalline solar photovoltaic modules” was the apropos US related news at Solar Power International 10 (SPI 10).
Designed for residential and commercial installations, the IM60 and IM72 series modules have Peak Power ratings from 230-245 Wp (Watt-peak) and 280-295 Wp respectively. At SPI 10, the IM60 and IM72 UL certifications were completed with IEC pending and CEC (California Energy Commission) listings expected in November 2010.
Manufactured in Newark, Delaware USA, and qualifying under the Buy American provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the new Motech modules build upon the 54 cell GE Energy GEPVp-205-M and GEPVp-210-M solar modules manufactured at the same site before Motech purchased GE Energy’s Delaware Solar Module Assembly Operation late in 2009. Motech had been the primary solar cell supplier to GE Energy ever since AstroPower’s solar cell technology using recycled silicon wafers was deemphasized. When GE Energy, a business unit of the General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), decided to scale back the operation to a single shift in March 2009, GUNTHER Portfolio broke the story with GE Solar lays off staff at Newark facility.
Per the Production Capacity slide shown above, Motech will have 1.15 GigaWatts of solar cell production capacity in place by yearend 2010 and expects to produce and ship 850 MegaWatts (MW) this year. In addition to seeing strong demand in the first quarter of 2011, “Motech upbeat on demand for solar cells” by Lisa Wang for The Taipei Times said “Motech is aiming to expand its solar capacity to 1.75 gigawatts next year from 1.1 gigawatts this year.”
Motech also has about 100 MW per year of 2010 solar module capacity. Motech formed a joint venture with Itogumi Construction Co., Ltd. for solar module production in Hokkaido, Japan. I understand the ~30 MW factory was spun out from MSK as a result their acquisition by Suntech Power (NYSE:STP). In addition to regional module production in the US and Japan, Motech has a 40 MW per year module line located next to the Motech Fab 3 solar cell plant in Kunshan, China.
Earlier at the 25th EU PVSEC, I realized Motech Chairman Dr. Simon Tsuo was sitting at the table next to mine for breakfast. Putting on my marketing hat, I introduced myself looking to meet him and exchange business cards. I also complained about how I was unable to get responses to questions I sent into Motech. To my surprise, Dr. Tsuo joined me for breakfast to chat about Motech and the PV industry. Of course, I took the opportunity to ask about my favorite topic, AE Polysilicon.
Dr. Tsuo reiterated the news since I posted AE Polysilicon scores $44.85 Million US Manufacturing Tax Credit including:
I was not taking notes during the discussion, but I recall the initial tests used Trichlorosilane (TCS, HSiCl3) obtained from offsite, while onsite TCS was supposed to be produced later, maybe in June? I am not certain on the date.
The above Upstream Integration (Polysilicon) slide is from Motech’s Nomura Taiwan Corporate Day Investor presentation on August 23, 2010. The Phase I full production capacity of 1800 Metric Tons (MT) appears to correlate to “the production of approximately 250 MW per year of installed solar energy” mentioned in the deposition press release.
I am lobbying for an AE Polysilicon plant tour, interview, or both. Over one of the upcoming holiday weeks would be perfect timing. Really!