Searching for the Second Nanosolar?

From PHOTON’s 1st PV Thin-film Conference

[San Francisco, California USA]

Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen makes bid to become the next First Solar.
Luckenwalde 1 MegaWatt solar farm installation appears to be running at least one month late.

Nanosolar presented Wednesday, December 3, 2008, at PHOTON’s 1st PV Thin-film Conference as part of PHOTON‘s Searching for the »Second Solar« Conference Series USA from December 2 – 4, 2008, in San Francisco, California. I was on the alert to snap slide photos since I noticed the Nanosolar presentation was not released with the conference proceedings.

For an overview of the event, please see “Seven candidates for the title of »Second Solar« at PHOTON’s Thin-film Conference” by Olga Papathanasiou with PHOTON International.

After revisiting previous announced plans to build a 430 MW (MegaWatt) factory in 2006, Nanosolar, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Martin Roscheisen began his pitch by reiterating three key Nanosolar goals:

  • Multi 100 MW scale very quickly
  • Selling Solar panels profitably at $1.00 per Watt
    • Building installed systems at $2.00 per Watt
  • At least twice the capital efficiency that First Solar has so we can grow very quickly with very little capital.

Mr. Roscheisen claimed Nanosolar was 25% below their original LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy) target in a recent audit by the U.S. Department of Energy for the Solar America Initiative, and a factor below the LCOE of 20 other participating companies.

Though details are scant, here is the Nanosolar presentation from the Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP or Solar Program) 2008 Program Review Meeting.

Mr. Roscheisen delved into Nanosolar innovations driving lower costs at the cell and module level. While Nanosolar is well known for semiconductor printing of CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) nanoparticle ink onto flexible foil substrates, Mr. Roscheisen said reducing semiconductor layer cost was insufficient to achieve sub $1.00 per Watt costs and highlighted:

  • low cost aluminum foil cell substrate vs. glass or stainless steel
    • as conductive as copper and inexpensive as a plastic
  • back contact cell technology
    • major engineering effort allowing stringing tool operation at 1 GW throughput speed
  • development of a new module laminator method in cooperation with a leading lamination tool vendor
  • 100 feet per minute CIGS Production Coater costing an affordable $1.6 million

CEO Roscheisen said, “Part of joy is to ramp all these tools.

In the above Picasa slideshow, the “1MW Freefield Plant” appears to be the Luckenwalde 1 MW solar farm project.

On November 7, 2008,“Dieses Jahr ans Netz ENERGIE Solarpark auf der Deponie wird gebaut” (German only) by (apparently) Elinor Wenke for the Märkische Allgemeine, Luckenwalder Rundschau, reported the 1 MWp (MegaWatt-peak) solar farm project located at the retired landfill in Luckenwalde, Germany, should be grid connected by year end. There has been intensive building activity at the site since August, and the foundations and ground array mounting structure are finished. Mounting of the Nanosolar modules was supposed to begin before the end of November.

Per “Nanosolar: Photovoltaic Hindsight Insights?” (or at legacy blogspot), the 1 MW project was supposed to be brought on grid by the end of November 2008. Is this project of secondary or tertiary priority to projects with utility scale partners EDF Energies Nouvelles and AES Solar Energy, Ltd., the joint venture between AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) and Riverstone Holdings LLC?

Nanosolar CEO Roscheisen concluded:

  • Nanosolar is focused on utility scale implementations at grid parity power cost.
  • We haven’t announced a lot of our partners in this area.
  • We have several of these plant projects that we are working on.
  • Despite the crisis environment, we certainly see continuing demand.
  • Nanosolar is fully financed for the complete factory build out.

While Mr. Roscheisen promised an update about our factory a number of times, all he said was the automated robotic module assembly capacity at the German Nanosolar GmbH factory was just short of 700MW.

During the “WHO’S THE NEXT FIRST SOLAR?panel discussion, PHOTON International Editor-in-chief Michael Schmela asked Martin Roscheisen:

The capacity numbers of your machines were quite impressive.
So what are we seeing in terms of production this year and next year?

Mr. Roscheisen said:

Convince me there’s a business benefit for us to reveal all kinds of proprietary information that can’t be disclosed.

Later in the panel, Mr. Roscheisen stated Nanosolar plans to fund future aggressive capacity expansions beyond the current build out using organic free cash flows.

What does the future hold for electricity providers?” by Christoph Podewils reports on PHOTON’s 1st TECAF (Traditional Electricity Companies Are F*&$#d) Conference. Only David Rubin from Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation (PG&E) dared to speak at the conference. Alas, this Blog continues to slide down the slippery, not so clean, language slope.


  1. Edgar A. Gunther says:

    New post at Greentech Media, “Nanosolar Broke Ground on 1MW Power Plant, Launched German Panel Factory”,

    As you can see above, I snapped a similar Nanosolar slide photo at PHOTON’s 1st PV Thin-film Conference.

  2. Artur Augusto Costa says:

    É pena a tradução para portugês ser péssima. Contudo por outros artigos sobre a impressão de semi-condutores CIGS como nanopartículas de tinta sobre folha flexível. Em Portugal o governo e os Bancos estão muito interessados em ajudar a financiar a compra das células fotoélectricas a 60.000 casas de pessoas até ao final deste ano de 2009. Gostaria que a Nanosolar me aceitasse como distribuidor e montador nas casas das pessoas que adquirissem as referidas células fotoélectricas e facultassem a aprendizagem e o financiamento da primeiras 500 ou 1.000 casas.Em caso afirmativo gostaria que o novo advogado fizesse com V.Exas. o contrato. Espero com ansieedade uma resposta positiva e breve.
    Artur Augusto Costa

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