Manz reveals plans to grow in Saudi Arabia

Company seeking investors in its CIGS thin-firm solar technology

Dieter Manz, founder and CEO of Manz AG.
Dieter Manz, founder and CEO of Manz AG.

Manz AG, a high-tech German multinational engineering company, has announced plans to grow its business activities in Saudi Arabia by seeking investors in its CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide) thin-film solar technology that generates electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity.

The announcement was made following Manz participation as co-organiser at the Solar and Photovoltaics Engineering Centre's (SPERC) official inauguration at the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST).

The centre was celebrating the completion of its world-class laboratory facilities, which support research into photovoltaics and other technology relevant to renewable energy.

The inauguration coincides with an international two-day scientific workshop on CIGS solar cells, with the first day devoted to basic research and the second day focusing on applied research and production technology.

“Our participation as co-organiser of the [CIGS] workshop at this prestigious event does not only show our commitment to the Saudi market, but shows the progressive and technology-driven outlook of the Saudi Government through the impressive advances in solar research being conducted at KAUST,” said Dieter Manz, founder and CEO of Manz AG. “We plan to strengthen our involvement in advancing this sector and delivering solutions that positively affect the Saudi economy and people.”

Dr. Claus Kuhn, vice president Thin-Film-Solar at Manz, discussed how CIGS will provide the highest potential for cost reduction and efficiency increases with solar energy in the Kingdom and highlighted that 80% of the material along the value chain necessary for the production of CIGS solar modules will be sourced locally, creating jobs in the country.

“CIGS technology is the most promising solar technology with 10% higher energy yields compared to polycrystalline panels,” said Kuhn. “Today we come with a fully integrated, turnkey solution, under the brand name CIGSfab that offers production lines that can be configured for an annual output of between 40 and 500MW. With an efficiency of 20.8 % on a CIGS solar cell, our exclusive research partner, the renowned Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW), holds the efficiency world record in all solar technologies.

"Due to this exclusive partnership, customers of a Manz CIGSfab are granted exclusive access to this mature German world-record technology.”

Renewable energy is one of the top priorities on the Kingdom’s list following the government’s announcement that it intends to generate as much as a third of the country's energy demands using solar power by 2031.

“The benefits for Saudi Arabia are endless. Fossil energy resources are limited but locally produced renewables are the future,” continued Kuhn. “As of today, the Manz CIGSfab is the only integrated and fully-productive turnkey production line for CIGS modules that generates profit. We are in a position to secure the lowest solar energy production costs and thus to contribute to the growth and well-being of Saudi citizens by setting up local manufacturing sites.”

With the most experienced CIGS team in the solar industry, Manz has already demonstrated low production costs, a significant potential for maximum efficiency and an ability to scale production from 40Mwp up to 500Mwp.

“Our developers are working continuously on identifying areas with cost-cutting potential, for example, through the use of improved coating processes. The Manz CIGSfab has an average guaranteed module efficiency of 14%, making it the turnkey line with the highest efficiency (module and aperture area) at the present time,” Kuhn concluded.

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