Valoe signs biggest deal, with 150 MW module line to Ethiopia

New entrants to the PV manufacturing market may be more willing to adopt novel module concepts. Finland’s Valoe Corporation reports that its latest deal is evidence of this trend, after signing what is its biggest equipment supply contract with a new entrant to the PV module business, based in Ethiopia.

While the name of the new Ethiopian module producer has not yet been announced, Valoe says it will be initially looking to supply the emerging solar markets in East Africa. The module assembly line, with an annual capacity of between 120 and 150 MW dependent of the cells used, will be shipped this year with commercial production set to commence in 2017.

Valoe claims that its MWT metallization and cell interconnection process delivers a 10 W/module boost over conventional three-busbar technology. This boost is set to increase to 15 W by the time the new Ethiopian lines begin commercial production next year.

“This is a very significant deal for Valoe and is proof of our business concept,” Valoe President and CEO Iikka Savisalo told pv magazine. “As new markets develop and new manufacturers enter the market, they can jump straight into the latest technology rather than adopting technology used elsewhere.”

€9.5 million (US$10.75 million) of the sales price will be paid in cash, with the remainder being retained by Valoe in the form of a 30% stake in the Ethiopian-based manufacturer.

“The customer will secure the payment of the delivery with an irrevocable letter of credit from a solvent European bank,” announced Valoe in a statement announcing the sale yesterday. “Valoe has to arrange advance payment guarantee that is typical of export business and financing of ca. €2 – 4 million (US$2.26 – $4.53 million) for building period from its suppliers and financiers.”

Valoe’s Savisalo said that the initial plan is for the new manufacturer to produce 260 – 270 W module in a 60-cell configuration, using multicrystalline solar cells. Valoe’s WRT technology is also suitable for modules incorporating PERC and IBC cells, to which it is particularly well suited, Valoe claims.

Valoe is working with European partners to supply the standardized processes on the line including module framing and lamination.

Cencorp was the parent company of Valoe, having spun off its automation business for electronic industries in 2013 to focus entirely on the clean energy sector. The name Valoe was adopted in April 2015.

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