Meyer Burger’s HJT plans securing German government’s attention kind of brings heterojunction solar cell technology to the limelight since the latter takes Fraunhofer ISE’s word for it having environmental advantages over conventional methods. Pictured is Meyer Burger's planned solar cell production facility in Bitterfeld. (Photo Credit: Meyer Burger Technology Ltd.)
- Basis specially drafted expert’s opinion from the Fraunhofer ISE, Meyer Burger has secured €22.5 million as grant to fuel its solar cell production plans
- The grants have come as €15 million from the State of Saxony-Anhalt and the Federal Republic of Germany, and €7.5 million as GRW
- The German government has approved these grants considering HJT solar cell production as having significant environmental advantages over conventional manufacturing processes
European solar PV equipment manufacturer turning into solar cell & module producer Meyer Burger Technology Ltd. has secured 2 grants with a combined value of €22.5 million ($27.66 million) from the German government for its ‘exceptionally innovative’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ solar cell production.
The State of Saxony-Anhalt and the Federal Republic of Germany have committed up to €15 million ($18 million) as environmental protection aid to Meyer Burger to set up its heterojunction (HJT) solar cell production facility at the former Sovello site. This project is based on a ‘specially drafted expert’s opinion’ from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) that claims Meyer Burger’s HJT technology has ‘significant environmental advantages compared to conventional manufacturing processes’ (see Fraunhofer ISE Backs Meyer Burger HJT/SWCT Technology).
An amount of €7.5 million ($9 million) comes its way in the form of a public investment grant (GRW) for the construction of its production facility in Bitterfeld-Wolfen that can be drawn through the end of 2023 (see Meyer Burger Selects German Locations For PV Production).
Both the grants, however, come for a condition which is confirmation of financing for investments in the production site allowing for an annual capacity of 1.4 GW, something Meyer Burger says it is confident of meeting. In case it claims further public finance support, the amount of 2 grants may still be reduced as per the state aid law of the European Union (EU).
Currently Meyer Burger is working on bringing online 400 MW solar cell & 400 MW module production capacity in Q2/2021. Its solar cell manufacturing capacity can be expanded to 1.4 GW in a ‘next step and as quickly as possible subject to successful debt financing’.
“We are pleased to receive this significant environmental aid. It proves that heterojunction technology is not only more efficient but also more environmentally friendly than conventional solar cell technologies,” said CEO Gunter Erfurt.
While pointing out that €22.5 million is too little for Meyer Burger to cover CHF 180 million investment the company expects to incur on setting up the solar cell and module production capacity. German business newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft said this help from the German government is not just a ‘welcome injection’ of finance for the manufacturer but it is equivalent to a ‘life insurance policy’ for the ‘financially weak’ company. The ‘structurally weak state of Saxony-Anhalt’ that has a strong desire to make East Germany home for the solar industry, will also ‘not allow a spoken loan to fail’.
Another Eastern German state, Brandenburg approved €8.8 million funding to support Oxford PV’s industrial scale solar cell production plans in November 2020 (see Brandenburg Commits €8.8 Million For Oxford PV Expansion).
Speaking of HJT technology, TaiyangNews launched its 2nd annual report titled Heterojunction Solar Technology 2020 in December 2020 that takes a closer look at players and tools enabling it to enter volume production. The report can be downloaded for free here.