Meyer Burger to start PV cell, module production in May


From pv magazine Germany

Switzerland's Meyer Burger Technology claims that it is on track to successfully complete its transformation from a PV production equipment provider into a module and cell manufacturer in the months ahead.

“The cell factory and the module factory are scheduled to open at the end of May,” the company said on Thursday.

The heterojunction cell production facility, which features the company's own equipment, has been built in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. Its highly automated module factory, meanwhile, is being built in the former Solarworld factory in Freiberg, Germany.

“For the first time in the history of the solar industry, we have a basic technology that delivers maximum performance and at the same time offers competitive manufacturing costs,” said Meyer Burger CEO Gunter Erfurt.

The manufacturer is currently recruiting employees for both manufacturing facilities.

In the first stage of production, Meyer Burger's plants will each have annual capacities of 400 MW. This will require it to hire more than 300 new employees, but it will reduce the number of employees at its Hohenstein-Ernstthal site. It said that 61 Hohenstein-Ernstthal employees have been offered the chance to transfer to the new locations.

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Meyer Burger also recently published its 2020 financial results, and its ongoing realignment is reflected in the figures. Sales fell to CHF 90.5 million ($97.3 million) last year, while its gross profit margin reached CHF 37.9 million. However, it recorded an EBITDA loss of CHF 44.6 million and a net loss of CHF 64.5 million.

Meyer Burger plans to increase annual cell production to 1.4 GW in the coming year and aims to double its module production capacity. To do this, it will need to borrow at least CHF 180 million by early 2022 at the latest. It said it expects annual sales of CHF 400 million to CHF 450 million and an EBITDA margin of 25% to 30% in 2023.

The company initially plans to concentrate on the residential and commercial segments for its highly efficient solar modules. The distribution of the modules, which will be mainly conducted via wholesalers, is initially planned in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. However, it also plans to actively sell its solar modules in the Benelux countries, as well as Italy, France, Great Britain, Poland and Northern Europe.

It said it has already concluded its first framework agreements with wholesalers. Its entry into the U.S. market, originally planned for 2022, could be moved forward to the second half of this year, it said.

Meyer Burger plans to hold its initial launch for the new modules in April. It said it also wants to support its positioning in the market by redesigning its own brand.

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