“The Board of Directors has decided that Meyer Burger, as a rule, will in the future manufacture production equipment for Heterojunction/SmartWire exclusively for its own use and aims to become a leading global producer of solar cells and modules,” it said. “Consequently, the entire value chain will remain with Meyer Burger. The protection of the proprietary technology and the know-how can thus be strengthened, and future improvements of the production facilities will no longer be shared with third parties. The standard equipment and service business will be continued unchanged.”
As a result the company is abandoning a deal with German manufacturing partner the REC Group which has a 600MW production line using Meyer Burger’s latest equipment. This may open up the option of purchasing the plant as REC will not be supported with future manufacturing technology.
It is also a major investor in perovskite tandem cell technology startup Oxford PV, and its equipment is used in a pilot production line in Germany. It is highly likely that this site will be a target for Meyer Burger. Oxford PV has raised a total of just over $150m, including $43m from Meyer Burger.
The company also has a deal with Panasonic for its equipment which is also expected to be discontinued.
"The change of our business strategy from equipment supplier to a vertically integrated cell and module manufacturer is the right and logical next step to secure an appropriate share of the value pool that our globally leading technology generates," said Franz Richter, the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Meyer Burger Technology.
Agreement for the deal has to come from an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held in early July.
Meyer Burger expects to save significant time and economic resources by acquiring existing production sites in Germany to start production in the first half of 2021 and to expand it in the following years.
The company says it has already secured several letters of intent from potential customers in Europe and the US to purchase a total over 2 GW of cells and modules per year.
"The next technological step is comparable to the transition from 4G to 5G in mobile communications, only Meyer Burger has brought the 5G technology of the PV industry to market maturity,” said new CEO Gunter Erfurt. “We can be in the market with our products within just one year. Our manufacturing in Europe is competitive and offers a significant profit potential".
Production will increase to 1.4 GW of cell and 0.8 GW of module production by the beginning of 2022 by raising a further CHF 180m ($180m).
In the longer term, the Company aims to expand annual production capacity to at least 5 GW with additional module production facilities in Europe and North America which shall be supplied from a central cell production. Meyer Burger then also expects to gradually increase its market share in the utility-scale segment.
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