Solaria sues Canadian Solar for alleged patent infringement on PV cell ‘shingling’ tech


From pv magazine USA

Solaria, a high-efficiency solar panel manufacturer based in California, filed suit against Canadian Solar this week in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California.

“When foreign companies such as Canadian Solar ignore American patents and violate our core IP, we will take action to enforce and protect the technology that took so much effort and investment to develop,” said Solaria CEO Suvi Sharma, in reference to the claim for alleged patent infringement.

The lawsuit claims Canadian Solar infringes Solaria’s U.S. patent concerning a process for separating photovoltaic strips from silicon solar cells for use in more-efficient tiled, or “shingled”, solar panels.

Solaria asserts “it first introduced Canadian Solar to its high-efficiency, high-density module (HDM) technology in 2014, when representatives of Canadian Solar evaluated Solaria’s next-generation shingling technology for a potential licensing deal. After further collaborations between the companies over the ensuing year, in which Solaria disclosed its proprietary technology and business strategies to Canadian Solar under an NDA [non-disclosure agreement], no deal was reached.”

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The claim continues: “In an apparent reference to Solaria’s proprietary HDM technology, Canadian Solar launched its “HiDM” shingled modules last year and began advertising and selling them in the United States. Solaria maintains that Canadian Solar’s HiDM shingled modules infringe Solaria’s patent, for which it seeks damages and injunctive relief.”

As pv magazine has reported, this is not the first time Solaria has been involved in lawsuits related to its technology. In 2018, the company sued South Korea’s Genesem for allegedly making use of Solaria’s patents outside agreed-upon terms. In 2017, Solaria resolved a legal dispute with GCL-Poly of China, related to allegedly stolen trade secrets for shingle-cell solar technology. The suit was settled under an NDA. Solaria also sued Jiangsu Seaphim Solar System and Suzhou Autoway System for the same alleged infringement as GCL Poly.

Solaria has to date raised more than $200 million from investors, including Cypress Semiconductors founder and former SunPower chairman T.J. Rodgers, Chilean investor Isadoro Quiroga, and Structure Capital. The company has a global manufacturing capacity greater than 300 MW.

“Solaria has invested over $200 million in developing its technology over the last decade to create the most advanced solar panels in the world,” said Sharma.

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