The deal with a leading non-Chinese solar company, the first for the technology, covers core equipment for a 600 MW Heterojunction and SWCT integrated production line. The copany already has a deal for SmartWire technology with Panasonic in Japan.
Initial delivery will begin in the first quarter of 2019 with the start of cell and module production planned in the second half of 2019. The total manufacturing capacity is scheduled to be in full production by the first quarter of 2020.
“This strategically important order from a well-established and highly respected cell module manufacturer is a real breakthrough. It not only confirms our technology leadership but also substantially strengthens the market acceptance and credibility for our Heterojunction and SmartWire technologies,” said Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger.
Heterojunction (HJT) cell technology combines the benefits of crystalline silicon solar cells with those of thin film technologies. It enables solar cells to achieve markedly higher efficiencies. Due to the superior light yield and outstanding passivation properties of amorphous silicon, cell efficiencies in excess of 24% can be attained. Further benefits arise from the relatively simple and economically attractive low-temperature manufacturing concept which requires fewer production steps and reduces energy consumption. The high cell efficiency and lower temperature coefficient also contribute to the significantly increased electricity yield of HJT modules compared to modules with conventional silicon solar cells.
The SWCT maximises the energy yield of HJT solar modules and is the perfect combination for an industrialised, highly efficient PV mass production line. The SmartWire method of connecting cells employs an high density foil-wire electrode which reduces the amount of silver used for each heterojunction solar module by more than 50%, for PV module manufacturers.
Overall the market for PV equipment remains challenging says Brändle. Margin pressure seen for standard PV business led to the restructuring back in October and is driving outsourcing of Meyer Burger’s manufacturing capacity to China.