Meyer Burger and Oxford PV partner to mass-produce perovskite solar cells

The agreement aims to accelerate mass production of perovskite on silicon heterojunction (HJT) tandem solar cells.

Meyer Burger Technology (Thun, Switzerland) and Oxford Photovoltaics (Oxford PV; Oxford, England) have entered into a strategic partnership and signed an exclusive cooperation agreement to jointly accelerate the development of mass production technology for perovskite on silicon heterojunction (HJT) tandem solar cells.

Oxford PV was founded in 2010 as a spin-out from the University of Oxford in England. They have developed perovskite tandem solar cells using bottom cells of crystalline silicon and achieved a certified world-record efficiency of 28% in 2018. Such tandem devices use the higher energy blue part of the solar spectrum more effectively, allowing a theoretical efficiency limit of 43% compared to 29% for traditional single-junction silicon-based solar cells.

Perovskite tandem solar cells are viewed in the solar industry as the next generation in solar cell technology enabling the reduction of the cost of solar energy to unprecedented levels. Its technology and material know-how is protected by a patent portfolio of more than 200 patents.

To accelerate the industrialization of this promising technology, Meyer Burger and Oxford PV agreed to combine Meyer Burger's leading HJT and SmartWire Connection technology with Oxford PV's perovskite solar cell technology. Meyer Burger will sell a 200 MW HJT line for the pilot production of tandem cells that will be ramped up by the end of 2020 in Oxford PV's Brandenburg an der Havel facility. The initial tandem solar cell efficiency target for the 200 MW pilot production line will be 27%. The characteristics of Meyer Burger's HJT cells make them the perfect bottom cells for Oxford PV's perovskite top cell layers.

Meyer Burger will also develop equipment to industrialize the mass production of the respective perovskite layers that are deposited onto HJT bottom cells. The companies say that this further accelerates the time-to-market and enlarges Oxford PV's and Meyer Burger's advantage as perovskite and HJT technology leaders in the global solar industry.

To underscore this strategic partnership, Meyer Burger will take a stake in Oxford PV of up to 18.8% of capital through the issue of up to 62.29 million new Meyer Burger registered shares from the company’s existing authorized capital, making Meyer Burger the largest shareholder of Oxford PV.

For the PV manufacturing industry, 2018 turned out to be a challenging year. It started in January 2018 with the announcement by the US president that steep tariffs on imported solar panels would be introduced, followed by an intensifying trade dispute between the USA and China which affected many companies and industries worldwide. Furthermore, on 31 May 2018, the Chinese government announced substantial subsidy cuts in the solar industry. Despite the positive long-term outlook for the solar industry, these facts have created a lot of uncertainties and led to a significant reluctance by customers to invest in PV manufacturing equipment. The market started to show signs of recovery towards the end of the year.

SOURCE: Meyer Burger;

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