The move at Meyer Burger in Switzerland comes after the resolution of a boardroom battle with activist investors that saw the chief executive and chairman step down. The company has been selling off several subsidiaries and is now looking at a more vertically integrated model. This would make solar panels based on its proprietary heterojunction manufacturing technology called SmartWire.
The company is also a major investor in UK startup Oxford PV , supplying its equipment to the Oxford production line for tandem perovskite solar cells being set up in Germany. This technology is a key part of the new direction.
“Based on the successful production ramp-up of REC’s ALPHA solar module , we have now delivered the proof of concept of our leading technology,” said Dr. Remo Lütolf, the outgoing Chairman of the Board of Directors. “This technology is setting a new benchmark with respect to efficiency and production costs. Against this backdrop, we decided to undertake a strategic realignment of Meyer Burger. In other words, we are focusing on the marketing and development of our own heterojunction/ SmartWire technology as well as the highly promising tandem cell technology – a combination of heterojunction and perovskite.
The board is now looking at funding to build the plant, two years after it sold off its solar panel system business.
“This modified business strategy with increased vertical integration will allow us to profit more from value creation associated with our heterojunction/ SmartWire technology. The focus is on setting up our own cell and module production in Europe. We are aiming to thereby exploit the full potential of our heterojunction/SmartWire technology while maintaining our technological lead and protecting our intellectual property against abuse.”
The veiled criticism of China is part of the reason for the change. Current solar cells using PERC technology has become commoditised. “Its market share is now 65% and is continuing to grow. At