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Oerlikon Solar expands in Asia with Singapore facility

Posted: 15 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar energy? thin-film silicon? Singapore facility?

Thin-film silicon solar solutions provider Oerlikon Solar is expanding its business in Asia with a new facility in Singapore planned to be completed within a year and with an initial workforce of approximately 100 people.

"Asia is emerging as an important market for solar energy applications," said Uwe Krger, CEO of the Oerlikon Group. "The new location will allow Oerlikon Solar to build the necessary capacity to expand its market-leading position."

Thin-film silicon belongs to the next generation of solar energy solutions and has significant cost benefits compared to conventional crystalline processes. "We are at the very beginning of a revolution in the energy market, similar to the dawn of the new age experienced about 30 years ago in the semiconductor industry with the adoption of the IC," said Oerlikon Solar CEO Jeannine Sargent.

According to market forecasts, Asia will grow to become one of the leading areas in the world for solar panel production. "To meet end-market solar demands in this growing region, it is essential that we are close to our customers with dedicated local resources, including development and production capabilities," Sargent said. "After an in-depth analysis, we have decided on Singapore as our second facility in addition to our headquarters in Trbbach." The decision criteria included access to a skilled workforce and scientists, a business-friendly infrastructure including IP protection, and the government's commitment to build a national solar energy industry.

"Oerlikon's decision in choosing Singapore to site its Asia manufacturing and R&D hub clearly demonstrates our rapid progress in developing the solar industry. This project is a significant boost to this growing sector, and shows how our existing strengths in manufacturing, particularly in precision engineering, have evolved to support exciting new areas," said Ko Kheng Hwa, managing director of Singapore Economic Development Board.

"Because of the enormous demand for our machines, it is of key importance to build up the necessary capacities to further strengthen our market-leading position," said Krger. "With this new location and the expansion of our production site in Trbbach, we will be able to quadruple our last year's production capability by 2009."

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