Calyxo's New Facility May Spell its Fate

Calyxo's New Facility May Spell its Fate

By: Fatima Toor, Lux Research

Calyxo announced the opening of a 60 MW cadmium telluride (CdTe) module production line in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. The location of the new Calyxo facility is close to where First Solar, a CdTe module manufacturer, closed its facility last year because of high manufacturing costs that were creating a drag on First Solar's financials. Therefore, Calyxo's move to open the new facility is not strategic and will likely result in a bankruptcy sooner or later. To add to this, EU's solar demand is expected to go down in the coming years but the price floor for photovoltaic (PV) modules at €0.56/W ($0.74/W) and an import ceiling of 7 GW/year of solar products imported from China may provide some relief to Calyxo. Within the CdTe start-up space, Calyxo will face competition from the Chinese (Advanced Solar Power [ASP]) and Americans (REEL Solar), where ASP has a manufacturing capacity of 30 MW in China and REEL Solar is looking for partners to scale operations.

In general, however, the future of CdTe PV technology's future is in limbo because, other than First Solar, no other company has scaled the technology, with GE giving up its plans for scaling up and instead signing a strategic technology development partnership with First Solar. Interestingly, First Solar is also pursuing PV technology diversification with the acquisition of TetraSun, a high-efficiency and bifacial crystalline silicon module manufacturer, as First Solar cannot enter the growing Japanese market with its CdTe technology. In addition, the CdTe technology faces a constant threat from copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) solar manufacturers, such as Solar Frontier, Hanergy, and TSMC, who have demonstrated impressive efficiency and production cost results at scale. It is unlikely that any CdTe manufacturer other than First Solar will survive the cut-throat competition in the solar industry.

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