When CNET’s respected “Future Tech Blog,” authored by Michael Kanellos, reported last week that Miasole intended to go public in 12 to 18 months, we decided it was time to take a closer look at this promising manufacturer of thin film photovoltaics.
Like Nanosolar, Miasole (pronounced mee-ah-so-LAY) relies on CIGS technology. CIGS, short for “copper indium gallium selenide,” requires far less silicon, which is in short supply these days. As Miasole’s website states, the CIGS photoactive material can be deposited on a “stainless steel foil only 50 microns thick. It can easily be used in PV modules or incorporated into building materials like membrane roofing.”
Earlier today, when we asked Martin Wenzel, Miasole’s SVP of Sales and Marketing, whether or not they were shipping product, he said no, but they would be very soon. He stated they had two production lines capable of 25 megawatts of output per year in place. He said they could be ready to go into production in 30-45 days. He also said they had already procured material to build two more 25 megawatt (per year) production lines at the same plant. And get this, they are doing this in Santa Clara, in the heart of the Silicon Valley!
We had to ask, why not go offshore? Wenzel explained that the cost for labor is such a small percentage of the total cost of manufacturing it woudn’t make sense to have the first volume production plant anywhere but close to the research facility. Shades of Silicon Valley in the late 1970′s, except this time it’s green tech instead of high tech… When asked how much capacity Miasole eventually envisioned building up to, Wenzel was cautious about long range forecasting. He did acknowledge, however, that Miasole within five years could be producing between 1.0 and 1.5 gigawatts of photovoltaics per year. The entire world production of photovoltaics in 2005 was 1.6 gigawatts. Keep your eye on Miasole…
A generation from now, advanced energy storage devices, barely recognizable as what today we know of as batteries or capacitors, along with ubiquitous photovoltaics, will have completely transformed the world’s energy and transporation industries.