TSMC to open photovoltaic fab and R&D centre

TSMC has decided it wants to open a new fab in Taichung, Taiwan’s Central Taiwan Science Park – its first thin film solar R&D centre and fab as it prepares to enter the photovoltaic industry. It will sit neatly next to its existing Fab 15 Gigafab.

The lucrative PV market offers big payoffs in an industry that’s set to swell larger and larger as progressive ecological incentives are offered worldwide – it’s big business and very competitive already. TSMC will be investing $258 million for the first phase of the fab which should see the scheduled equipment move in during the second quarter of 2011 – and should achieve a volume of 200 Megawatts per year in thin film PV in 2012.

TSMC is hopeful to add a second phase to the facility eventually and expand production to over 700MW and employing roughly 2,000 staff in the process. Its acquisition of Stion earlier this year will see the R&D centre continue to build on the CIGS listed technology it got in the process.

It’s got its eyes on the prize. TSMC will be offering solar products, globally, under its own brand rather than through partners.

TSMC president of new business, Dr. Rick Tsai, said: “The research performed at this R&D center will help us achieve our goal of offering a leading thin-film solution and the production at this fab, drawing on TSMC’s wealth of manufacturing know-how, will pave the way for us to become a top provider of solar PV modules.”