TSMC Exiting Solar Energy Industry, Despite CIGS Efficiency Record

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The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) is completely exiting the solar energy industry, owing to the fact that the company’s solar energy business is “no longer economically sustainable,” according to recent reports.

This is in spite of the fact that the company recently unveiled a new CIGS module that now possesses the conversion efficiency world record for the class (16.5%).


All of the company’s thin-film solar manufacturing activity (at its manufacturing facility in Central Taiwan Science Park, Taichung) was apparently ended at the end of August — though, all product warranties will reportedly remain in effect. Also worth noting, is that the company is apparently making sure that all of the employees concerned get new position/job offers.

“TSMC Solar’s late entry to the market and lack of economies of scale led to a substantial cost disadvantage. After careful consideration, TSMC has come to the conclusion that despite its world-class conversion efficiency for CIGS technology, TSMC Solar will not be viable even with the most aggressive cost reduction plan,” is the way that the company worded it in a statement released at the time.

“TSMC continues to believe that solar power is an important source of green energy and that solar module manufacturing remains a robust and growing industry, but despite 6 years of hard work we have not found a way to make a sustainable profit,” stated Steve Tso, chairman of TSMC Solar and senior VP of TSMC. “Upon ceasing manufacturing operations at TSMC Solar, our most important concern will be the continued employment of our workers there.”

Interestingly, remaining solar module stock will simply be installed at the company’s remaining facilities for internal company use, rather than be sold — a sensible choice, especially considering that the stock in question will likely help the company to recoup some lost capital through electricity savings (over the coming years).

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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One thought on “TSMC Exiting Solar Energy Industry, Despite CIGS Efficiency Record

  • This is an atypical situation. TSMC is the market leader in the very high-tech, dynamic and capital-hungry business of merchant fabrication of microprocessor SOCs and other complex semiconductor chips. In comparison, solar panels are a low-tech commodity business. It makes sense for TSMC to abandon a sideshow where they weren’t making money. The move doesn’t tell us anything about the prospects of CIGS technology.

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