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Nanosolar to Build World's Largest Solar-Cell Factory

Nanosolar Inc, a global leader in solar power innovation, today announced that it has started executing on its plan to build a volume cell production factory with a total annual cell output of 430MW once fully built out, or approximately 200 million cells per year, and an advanced panel assembly factory designed to produce more than one million solar panels per year.

Presently in pilot production in its Palo Alto, California facility, Nanosolar announced that it has started ordering volume production equipment for what is going to be the world's largest solar cell manufacturing factory. The company also announced today that its first cell fab will be located in the San Francisco Bay area and that its first panel fab -- for a broad array of novel product form factors using advanced processes -- is expected to be located in Berlin, Germany.

Seed-financed by the founders of Google, the company's team started pursuing its mission of making solar electricity vastly more affordable in 2002. After four years of intense commercial research and development, including two years of manufacturing process development and engineering, the company has now delivered on its ambition to produce a fundamentally less expensive, mass-manufacturable solar cell.

"Thin-film printing overcomes the complexity, high cost, and yield and scalability limitations associated with vacuum-based processes. Nanosolar's technology enables low-cost, high-yield production previously unattainable," said Chris Eberspacher, Nanosolar's head of technology, noting further: "This allows us to produce cells very inexpensively and assemble them into panels that are comparable in efficiency to that of high-volume silicon based PV panels."

Added Werner Dumanski, Nanosolar's head of manufacturing and a storage-disk industry manufacturing veteran: "Given the square meter economics of solar, high-throughput high-yield processes have to be used to succeed in this industry. With Nanosolar's printing process, the fully-loaded cell cost -- including materials, consumables, energy, labor, facility, and capital -- is less than the depreciation expense alone that vacuum thin-film companies have to pay for the equipment that produces their cells."

Regarding the scale of the factory, Dumanski points out: "A factory of this capacity would cost more than one billion dollars to build if one used conventional solar technology. Given the distinctly superior capital efficiency of our unique process technology, we can achieve this scale with a lot less capital and as a startup company."

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