Fraunhofer ISE Backs Meyer Burger HJT/SWCT Technology

In Meyer Burger Commissioned Study, Fraunhofer ISE Hails Its HJT/SWCT Technology As Having Global Technological Lead Of 3 Years & ‘Lucrative’ Potential
02:27 PM (Beijing Time) - 04. July 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Fraunhofer ISE report sees lucrative potential for Meyer Burger’s HJT/SWCT technology
  • Compared to its peers globally, the technology has a 3-year lead due to higher module efficiency
  • No other competitors offer this technology currently, and some of the patents it has will be valid till 2039 ensuring it continues to hold the lead

Meyer Burger’s Heterojunction/SmartWire Connection Technology (HJT/SWCT) has a technological lead of at least 3 years over its global competitors and is ready for the market as a lucrative option thanks to its favorable price/cost ratio, said Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). The report was commissioned by Meyer Burger.

The Swiss PV equipment producer is currently preparing to transform partly into a solar cell and module producer using its own HJT/SWCT expertise. Meyer Burger recently announced that it won’t share its HJT equipment anymore with third parties unlike its PERC or testing products. To assess its HJT technology, Meyer Burger got Fraunhofer ISE to evaluate it and the latter has given it a thumbs up.

Fraunhofer ISE pits Meyer Burger technology against select competitors as SunPower and Panasonic among others, to show they pursue alternative technologies to IBC, HJT and TopCon while undertaking incremental design improvements of modules with PERC cell technology. It claims there is currently no alternative provider for cell interconnection with SWCT and that the Swiss company holds extensive patents over these, some of which will be valid through 2039.

Meyer Burger’s HJT technology is already successful in mass production with REC Solar, with whom Meyer Burger’s plans to quickly expands its cell and module production to multiple GWs did not work out  (see REC Group Begins Production At 600 MW HJT Fab). In TaiyangNews’ Advanced Module Technology 2019 report, REC’s 60 cell HJT module was one of the highest efficiency panels.

According to the Fraunhofer report, costs per W of HJT/SWCT modules in mass production are higher, but only slightly compared to PERC which is the most popular cell production technology worldwide currently. Yet, it is lower than those of alternative high-performance technologies owing to 30% less use of silver in the Meyer Burger technology.

“The technology roadmap is plausible and realistic; it allows for an above-average development of module efficiency and yield and a reduction of manufacturing costs, so that the current 3-year lead of the technology can potentially be further extended,” said the German research institute in its report. “The business case for manufacturing and marketing Meyer Burger’s HJT/SWCT modules is considered by Fraunhofer ISE to be lucrative due to the favorable price/cost ratio and the technological leadership.”

As per the business roadmap shared by the management, in the next few years Meyer Burger hopes to have annual production capacity of at least 5 GW for solar cells and modules leveraging its HJT/SWCT technology.

TaiyangNews explored HJT technology in depth vis-à-vis other high efficiency cell production technologies in its TaiyangNews High Efficiency Cell Technologies report launched in November 2019. It can be downloaded for free here.

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani