- First Solar acquires Sweden’s Evolar AB, expanding its R&D footprint to Europe
- It will enable the company to carry out research into high efficiency tandem devices
- It plans to explore integrating Evolar’s technology into its own R&D streams and commercial thin-film technology
US cadmium telluride (CdTe) based thin-film solar panel manufacturer First Solar has acquired Sweden headquartered perovskite technology company Evolar AB which not only expands its R&D footprint but also shows concrete move to venture into next generation tandem devices.
It means First Solar will have an R&D facility in Europe as Evolar will continue its work in Uppsala, Sweden. The latter’s staff will work in close collaboration with First Solar scientists at its US R&D center in Santa Clara in California.
“In addition to significantly expanding our capacity for advanced research, we are pleased to extend our R&D footprint to Europe,” said First Solar CEO Mark Widmar. “By connecting our advanced research lab in California with Europe and building the Western Hemisphere’s largest PV R&D innovation center in Ohio, we are effectively establishing and leading a uniquely transatlantic effort to develop and commercialize the next generation of photovoltaics.”
Evolar uses PV Power Booster, a proprietary technology, claiming it increases solar cell efficiency by 25% vis-à-vis silicon based solar panels but at the same manufacturing cost/W. It focuses on developing manufacturing equipment among other solutions to commercialize tandem solar technology using perovskite thin films.
The American manufacturer says integrating Evolar’s technology with the company’s own R&D streams and commercial thin-film PV technology can help accelerate the development of next generation PV technology including high efficiency tandem devices.
“We anticipate that high efficiency tandem PV modules will define the future, speeding up decarbonization by allowing us to convert sunlight into clean electricity more efficiently. This acquisition supplements our existing R&D streams with expertise in thin film semiconductors that complement CadTel,” said First Solar CEO Mark Widmar.
The deal costs close to $38 million for First Solar as a purchase price and an additional $42 million to be paid on certain technical milestones being met by Evolar.
In 2022, First Solar and SunPower announced a collaboration to develop a tandem solar module into mass production (see SunPower & First Solar To Collaborate Again).
It recently won a US Department of Energy (DOE) funding for CdTe and silicon tandem solar module for residential rooftops (see US DOE Shortlists Solar Supply Chain Projects For Award).
First Solar once even had a module manufacturing plant in Germany, but closed it in 2012 as part of a restructuring effort when the financial crisis hit the solar sector.