- Meyer Burger is getting ready to bring out its first solar cells and modules from its German fabs in May 2021
- It has preponed planned launch of products in the US/Americas market to H2/2021
- Initial focus will be rooftop solar segment for residential and small commercial, to be followed soon with entry into utility scale segment
- Management targeting to expand annual production capacity of solar cells and modules to a total of 1.4 GW and 800 MW, respectively by 2022, basis the funds it is able to raise
Meyer Burger has reported its realignment cost the Switzerland based solar PV equipment maker turned solar cell and module maker some business as its net sales for the year 2020 declined 65.5% to CHF 90.5 million, while its EBITDA dropped to a negative CHF 44.6 million.
Meyer Burger achieved incoming orders of CHF 44.3 million in 2020, compared to CHF 188.3 million in 2019 and it says ‘adjusted for divestments, incoming orders decreased by 78.6%’ At the end of December 2020 its orders on hand amounted to CHF 36.2 million with a book-to-bill ratio of 0.49.
It points out that the 2020 order intake, sales and margins are for the company as an equipment maker. So in that capacity, Asia continued to lead its business accounting for 64% of net sales, down from 72% in 2019, while Europe represented 30% sales and Americas 6%. Under the new business model, Meyer Burger, armed with a sleek new brand logo and dropping the ‘Technology AG’ from the brand name, expects the regional sales mix to change.
Production on plan; sales to US a priority
On the production side, the management is gung-ho about its preparation being on track to launch both its 400 MW heterojunction (HJT) solar cell factory in Thalheim, Germany and its 400 MW SmartWire solar module fab in Freiberg, Germany, on schedule at the end of May 2021. It closed its supply deal with Ecosolifer for a HJT cell production line in December 2020 saying it has now closed the chapter of its recognition as a PV equipment supplier (see Meyer Burger Achieves Closure On Deal With Ecosolifer).
As announced previously, it plans to enter the residential and small commercial rooftop solar segment in core European markets to begin with, and later expanding to large scale project segment.
It has pushed up the US/Americas market to the priority list, anticipating its initial sales here in H2/2021, as against previously planned 2022 timeline. Meyer Burger sees a favorable market environment for solar under the new Biden administration.
Under its business model, the company will sell its products in bulk to distributors who will then further deliver systems to installers.
Expansion to 1.4 GW scheduled
Meyer Burger management said the company is preparing for production expansion in a next phase, increasing annual solar cell production capacity to 1.4 GW and 800 MW for solar modules by 2022, as it rides on the positive market sentiment for solar PV technology.
It would be contingent on it raising at least CHF 180 million of debt by the beginning of 2022. “On this basis, Meyer Burger expects annual sales of CHF400 – CHF 450 million and an EBITDA margin of 25% – 30% in 2023,” stated the company.