Reporting from the Intersolar show in San Francisco– When last we spoke with Chris O’Brien of Oerlikon Solar in April ofthis year, Oerlikon was plugging away, selling amorphous silicon (a-Si)photovoltaics manufacturing equipment to a number of customers. Thefirm was working on improving efficiency and throughput against thebackdrop of a rather high profile struggle by a-Si competitor AppliedMaterials. Applied Material’s customers are declaring bankruptcy (Sunfilm) and backing out of factories (Signet).
Since then Applied has de-emphasized its a-Si efforts and sent ana-Si team to China to work on a Chinese fab-to-farm project, whileOerlikon continues to make some headway with this technology. They’renot the only one — Sharp is absolutely committed to a-Si, Astroenergyin China is working on this, and we just heard from a stealth startup,also working in a-Si that is boasting efficiency potentials in the lowteens. We will be checking on that.