PARIS Startup Nexcis, specializing in the manufacturing of CIGS solar cells and modules from electrodeposition, has inaugurated a photovoltaic (PV) module production unit at STMicroelectronics' former 6-inch fab in Rousset, France.
Founded at the end of 2008, Nexcis builds upon extensive experience at the Institute of Research and Development on Photovoltaic Energy (IRDEP), associating energy player EDF, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the National Chemical Engineering Institute in Paris (ENSCP) on the technological development of electrodeposition-based processes for CIS cells. IRDEP claimed it has demonstrated the maximum efficiencies obtained so far from devices fabricated with one-step electrodeposited CuInSe2 precursors 11.4 percent world record.
The company is equipped for thin film deposition, device and module completion, optoelectronic semiconductor and device characterization, analysis and modeling.
More specifically, Nexcis said it has the facilities for the small scale fabrication of electrodeposited based Cu(In,Ga)(S,Se)2 solar devices up to a size of (30x60)cm2.
Ultimately, Nexcis said it is targeting mass production of low-cost thin-film modules. Project results will be made available to industrial and scientific partners.
Nexcis said a total of 1.5 million euros have been invested to equip and install the 1.500 square-meter clean rooms and premises, according to L'Usine Nouvelle. To reach its goals, the startup has obtained about 20 million euros led from the French Agency for Innovation (OSEO), the French State, local authorities and the European Union.
Nexcis' workforce, now numbering 37 employees, should reach its objective of 40 by 2011, the company said.
In 2003, ST unveiled a plan to migrate at least half of its European and U.S. 6-inch wafer production either to finer geometry 8-inch wafer fabs or to the Company's 6-inch fab in Singapore.
In France, the plan then anticipated the withdrawal from the 6-inch fab in Rennes, the continuation of the highly specialized discrete-component activity in Tours and the gradual migration of the 6-inch activity to the 8-inch fab in Rousset.