Meyer Burger said that it entered the planning stages to construct a 400 MW solar panel assembly facility in the United States.
The company said it currently is in talks with multiple locations to determine the best site, and hopes to begin delivering solar panels from the facility before the end of 2022.
Capital raises and factory announcements at Meyer Burger now appear to be a regular thing. Its European manufactured solar panels will be available in the United States around Thanksgiving via the distribution channel CED Greentech, and it may add other channels at a later date.
This announcement is genuinely exciting. Meyer Burger is one of the world’s leading research and implementation companies developing new solar power technology.
The company was the first to figure out how to deploy monocrystalline passivated emitter and rear contact (monoPERC) solar cells in mass manufacturing via SolarWorld. It also was the first to apply diamond wire cutting in the solar industry, taking advantage of technology which it had previously used in its watch manufacturing business.
The Chinese government deemed monoPERC so important that it deployed military hackers to steal it. The theft resulted in the United States placing tariffs on Chinese solar cells under the Obama administration.
The technology also helped drive the wave of solar cell efficiency growth for commodity solar panels that took us from just past 16% toward and beyond our current 22%.
In a repeat of history, solar diamond wire cutting technology has also spread broadly and quickly away from Meyer Burger’s control. Both monoPERC and diamond wire cutting are now dominant industry technologies.
Meyer Burger August 2021 Corporate Presentation
Today, Meyer Burger’s path has changed. The company will no longer provide its technology to third parties. Instead, it will manufacture the solar panels that arise from its own technological prowess.
The company published a 2027 corporate goal of a modest 7 GW per year cell and module manufacturing capacity. Presumably, an assessment of the proposed 7 GW/year capacity delivered by Meyer Burger’s solar team convinced the company to pivot downstream into a very competitive marketplace.
The analysis below is from one of the company’s corporate presentations.
This pivot came mostly as a surprise.
Only two years ago, Meyer Burger made an impression with this author via deploying hardware into the REC Solar Group’s heterojunction Alpha solar panel. Meyer Burger’s equipment was also briefly inside of short-lived SolarTech Universal of South Florida.
Additionally, it had a “special relationship” with perovskite company Oxford PV. Meyer Burger put $43 million directly into the company, and likely hired employees to service Oxford’s unique machinery needs. In a spiritual sense, Oxford PV was seen by some as the tip of Meyer Burger’s technological spear.
That relationship has now changed. Meyer Burger will now be the sole global supplier of its own heterojunction solar panels, and later, advanced solar panels.
This move wasn’t as surprising. Meyer’s Burger’s disappointment in intellectual property law was made public when it exited the diamond wire manufacturing market several years ago.
Meyer Burger January Investor Presentation
The new U.S. factory announcement made reference to the company’s standard heterojunction solar module and SMART wire technologies. pv magazine USA was informed that Meyer Burger aims to deliver its recently announced solar roof tiles to the United States, as well as its home European markets.
In a podcast interview this summer, Meyer Burger CEO Gunter Erfurt was asked about the complex relationship with perovskite tandem solar cell manufacturer Oxford PV.
He stated that Meyer Burger is among a few companies with the skills needed to advance perovskite tandem cells from research labs into the real world, much like its previous accomplishments with monoPERC.
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