DIX HILLS, NY--(Marketwire - April 23, 2009) - Solar Thin Films, Inc. (OTCBB: SLTN) today announced that it has been notified that BudaSolar Limited was awarded two separate research and development contracts by the Hungarian National Office for Research and Technology -- the first targeting efficiency improvements for silicon based thin film solar cells and the second aimed at developing improved in-line monitoring tools for thin film processes. The project leader for the first award is BudaSolar's CEO, Dr. Istvan Krafcsik, who is regarded as a pioneer of the Hungarian thin film solar industry. Solar Thin Films and its KRAFT Elektronikai Zrt. subsidiary have entered into a share exchange agreement which contemplates that KRAFT will acquire 100% of BudaSolar and Dr. Krafcsik and his associate will receive 49% of the share capital of KRAFT.
The first R&D contract in the amount of over US $3.0 million (at current exchange rates) has been awarded to a consortium consisting of BudaSolar, Optilab Ltd., the Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science or MFA, and the Research Institute for Nuclear Research or ATOMKI. Total government support for BudaSolar as lead partner equals just over US $1.4 million (at current exchange rates).
"This project will complement our existing research capabilities and is another positive step in our efforts to run a world-class development effort aimed at continuous improvement of our industry leading amorphous silicon solution," noted Dr. Csaba Ducso, Buda's Head of Technology Development. The project goals include the development of processing techniques for higher efficiency micromorph solar modules. "Sharing laboratory development with multiple physical research institutes provides us with greater access to more sophisticated research equipment and enables us to complement our own research team with noted academic specialists," said Buda's Dr. Istvan Krafcsik. "Together we have a strong probability of success in an effort that would launch KRAFT forward with a high efficiency version of its ultra low cost batch process or 'box carrier' system, and would ensure continued competitiveness based on improving what is already acknowledged to be one of the world's lowest cost production processes."
The second contract in the amount of roughly US $3.6 million (at current exchange rates) has been awarded to lead partner Semilab, BudaSolar, the MFA, and the Department of Electronic Devices at Budapest Technical University. Total government support for BudaSolar is just over US $400,000 (at current exchange rates). The primary goal of the project is to develop in-line process monitoring tools that are optimized for thin film technology. The project leader, Semilab, is already noted for its in-line monitoring tools targeted at crystalline technologies and selected BudaSolar for its thin film expertise. Buda will retain the right to incorporate these tools into its "turnkey" offering.
Peter Lewis, Group Vice President of STF's Thin Film and Equipment Division, commented, "This is further evidence that combining KRAFT's equipment manufacturing expertise and BudaSolar's process and development expertise will yield an industry leading low cost solution for the production of thin film solar modules."