Meyer Burger picks up $12m to $15m in PERC orders

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Meyer Burger’s Passivated Emitter Rear Cell (PERC) equipment production will be running at full capacity into Q2 2015, with a series of orders for its MB-PERC cell upgrade equipment from Asian cell producers. The Swiss solar technology provider says that monocrystalline cell efficiencies can be boosted by 1% through the upgrades to 20.5%. Multicrystalline efficiencies can be boosted by 0.7%.

The MB-PERC upgrade is delivered through its Multi Application inline Apparatus (MAiA) platform. Meyer Burger remains the dominant supplier of PERC upgrades, with an estimated 2 GW of PERC capacity having been supplied. These latest orders, announced today by Meyer Burger, represent an additional 700 MW of PERC capacity.

In September, Meyer Burger announced a MB-PERC equipment sale for multicrystalline lines to a leading Southeast Asian producer.

The former NPD Solarbuzz, now a part of IHS, estimates that 4 GW to 4.5 GW of PERC upgrades have been installed, running in excess of 2.5 GW by the end of this year.

Thomas Helbig, head of cell product management at Meyer Burger subsidiary Roth & Rau told pv magazine that MB-PERC return on investment is around 14 to 18 months.

“This is a good opportunity for customers to give their existing line a second life,” said Helbig. “Along with decreased rear surface recombinations, PERC also increases internal reflection on the rear side, specifically for longer wavelengths of light which often pass through the wafer without generating electrons.”

GTM Research upstream analyst Shyam Mehta told pv magazine that PERC upgrades suit the current market situation.

“We are still not that point in the industry where companies are willing to spend hundreds of millions more on radically different technologies,” said Mehta. “That’s why PERC makes sense – in that companies are willing to spend a little big more, not a whole lot more.”

Alongside the efficiency boosts it delivers, Meyer Burger says that its MAiA 2.1 system platform delivers materials savings.

“The maximization of gas utilization during the solar cell coating process and the positive influence on subsequent process steps enables MB-PERC to deliver cost-saving potentials in a range of areas. This includes a reduction of up to 30% in the use of expensive aluminum pastes for the solar cell contacting system,” today’s statement from Meyer Burger reads.

The MB-PERC upgrade platform is produced by Meyer Burger at its Technology and Product Center at Roth & Rau AG in Hohenstein, Germany.

Additional reporting from Christian Roselund. The December 2014 edition of pv magazine includes a feature article on the rollout of PERC technology.