Meyer Burger ramps up German solar panel production

Meyer Burger ramps up German solar panel production

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Meyer Burger is looking to commercialise solar panels using perovskite tandem cells as it ramps up production in Germany.

The company produced 321.1 MW of silicon panels in 2022 as part of its shift away from making production equipment.

A second production line has been in test operation in August 2022 and in production ramp-up since the end of September 2022. Meyer Burger increased the ramp-up speed significantly compared to the first line by transferring lessons learnt and implementing optimized processes. 

With the start of the second line, Meyer Burger can manufacture two of the three product variants in parallel, which improves the availability of panels.This avoids having to reconfigure the line for different variants.

The ramp-up of the second line is expected to continue throughout the first quarter of 2023.

The company plans to start the ramp-up of the third line in Thalheim (city of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Saxony-Anhalt) and in Freiberg (Saxony) in the second quarter. All three lines target a production volume for the year of between 1.0 and 1.2 GW.

“Achieving the 2022 guidance is an important milestone for Meyer Burger. After we again had to solve major challenges due to disruptions in global supply chains, the ramp-up of the second line is now going twice as fast compared to the first line thanks to the great effort of our team,” said Daniel Menzel, COO of Meyer Burger.

Perovskite tandem panels 

The company has also teamed up with CSEM, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Fraunhofer ISE and the University of Stuttgart to work on tandem solar cells for next-generation solar modules

The aim of the cooperation is the industrial production of solar cells with efficiencies of more than 30 percent using a perovskite cell on top of a silicon one. The technology will be used exclusively for Meyer Burger’s own manufacturing of commercial solar modules. 

“With a long tradition of proprietary development, Meyer Burger has an extensive portfolio of processes, technologies, and production techniques at its disposal for the potential mass production of tandem solar cells and modules in-house,” says Marcel König, Head of Research and Development at Meyer Burger.

“This includes the essential manufacturing processes and machinery for silicon-based perovskite tandem solar cells, as well as corresponding solar modules with Meyer Burger’s proprietary SmartWire connection technology. In conjunction with the skills of our academic partners, this is a unique recipe for success.” 

Meyer Burger previously worked with Oxford PV and has therefore already developed its own proprietary technology.

CSEM and Meyer Burger have already shown a record efficiency of 29.6 percent for a 25-square-centimeter perovskite tandem solar cell.

“This outstanding result demonstrates the potential of silicon perovskite tandem cells to achieve high efficiencies. Although we still have a lot of work ahead of us, the industrialization of solar cells with an efficiency of over 30 percent is on the right track,” says Professor Christophe Ballif, Director Sustainable Energy at CSEM. 

 “By manufacturing in Europe, Meyer Burger creates high-quality jobs while making use of technologies developed in Europe,” says Professor Rutger Schlatmann, director of the Competence Center Photovoltaics Berlin PVcomB at HZB.

The success of perovskite/silicon tandem technology is highly dependent on the presence of a stable industrial production process and modules that offer a high level of reliability.

“The aim is for perovskite/silicon modules to meet the high standards of reliability and longevity set by classical silicon PV technology,” says Professor Andreas Bett, director of Fraunhofer ISE. “To this end, Fraunhofer ISE will act as a committed partner as part of the collaboration with Meyer Burger, leveraging its long-standing expertise in the upscaling of PV production processes and the production and certification of modules.”

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