Talking to Solar Power Portal at Solar Energy UK 2013, electrical component distributor P.M Service is introducing Taiwan Semiconductor manufacturing company’s (tsmc) thin film panels to the UK market.

Tsmc, who also make microchips for Apple and IBM, started research and development on thin film in 2010. Investing US$258 million in research, tsmc pushed its CIGS thin-film module efficiency to 15.7%, up from 15.1% in July.

Tsmc’s TS CIGS high-efficiency module hopes to be approved by the microgeneration certification scheme (MCS), in February, and is ROHS compliant. 

Les Billing UK sales for P.M Services said there is approximately a 10-15% price gap currently, between polysillicon modules and thin-film in the UK. “There has been lots of interest in thin-film, it should be much more popular in the UK, the aesthetics and efficiency, it should be cheaper to manufacture than it is currently with increasing interest, and can even be mounted onto façades which architects like”, explained Billing.

Billing said tsmc is aiming at the German market, but can also supply the UK. P.M Service is hoping to win over ground-mounted PV developers who are worried thin-film costs more.

Fabio Ronconi, technical director for P.M Service told Solar Power Portal that tsmc can produce more electricity “in the long run” than polysillicon modules currently popular in the UK. He explained in 2009 and 2010 an experiment with Solar Frontier thin film modules, mounted on a 40 degree south west facing roof in Italy, againsta south facing roof with Hyundai polysillicon modules, yielded 9.6% more than the polysillicon modules.

Ronconi continued: “The UK [market] is currently following the majority, with all polysillicone, and all the same inverters, is the UK prepared to be different?”

The tsmc CIGS panels have already been used installed in Namibia for a 67.2 KW Woermann Gorup Supermarket roof, using 481 panels and expecting 145.48MWh output a year.