First Solar acquires Swedish perovskite tech startup Evolar
American solar panel producer First Solar has acquired Evolar, an Uppsala-based startup specializing in perovskite technology.
“With this acquisition, along with our new innovation centre in the United States and longstanding commitment to R&D, we are investing not just in First Solar’s future, but the future of solar energy,” said First Solar CEO Mark Widmar.
Widmar said acquiring Evolar would enhance the development of next-gen photovoltaic (PV) technology, high-efficiency tandem PV modules. According to Widmar, these modules can convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently, contributing to global efforts to achieve decarbonisation targets faster.
“We expect that it will accelerate our efforts to develop tandem technology that continues our commitment to ultra-low carbon, responsibly produced solar.”
Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar
The executive explained that First Solar and Evolar’s combined resources would boost the commercialization of thin film PV. Evolar’s Uppsala laboratory will continue to conduct research to develop its technology. This laboratory is First Solar’s first R&D centre in Europe.
Around 30 R&D staff in Evolar’s laboratory will collaborate with First Solar’s scientists in California and later in Ohio. First Solar is currently constructing a new R&D centre in Perrysburg, Ohio, scheduled to be completed next year.
First Solar paid $38 million (€34.93 million) for the acquisition. The American firm may pay up to an additional $42 million (€38.60 million) if the Evolar team can achieve certain technical milestones in the future.
Evolar develops proprietary PV technology
Established in 2019, Evolar has developed a proprietary technology called the PV Power Booster Line. The Swedish startup claims that its PV technology can enhance solar cell efficiency by 25 percent compared to the conventional cell made out of silicone.
According to Evolar, an additional perovskite layer allows solar cells to utilize their energy better. Perovskites are synthetic photovoltaic materials that are affordable and enable factories to boost solar cell efficiency at a lower cost.
Evolar’s solution can integrate with the production line of solar cell manufacturers within 12 to 18 months. This short-adjustment period allows producers to pay back their investments quickly. The startup also maintains it can customize the production modules based on each customer’s requirements.
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