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Heliatek has started a pilot production programme for its new solar film technology. Production is being carried out at its facility in Dresden, Germany, which was inaugurated in March 2011. Heliatek is a specialist in the manufacture of energy harvesting components made from flexible solar films based on organic semiconductor materials.
According to the company’s CEO, Thibaud Le Séguillon, it is operating the “world’s first production line in which organic solar films are manufactured in a roll-to-roll process using vacuum deposition”.
Dr. Martin Pfeiffer, co-founder and CTO of Heliatek, added, “Our production process is similar to the one used by OLED today, but with the addition of the roll-to-roll element. This is important to mitigate the production ramp-up risks. Heliatek is the recognized world leader in OPV technology. We have an independently confirmed cell efficiency of 10.7 %, a product which passed IEC lifetime tests in our laboratories, and external measurement data that confirms the superior harvesting factor compared to other PV technologies. Our chemistry and physics R&D labs allow us to continuously extend our lead in organic photovoltaics and to improve our already strong patent portfolio; it covers our in-house developed and synthesized molecules, our cell structure and even some of our processes. That’s how we are creating a highly defendable entry barrier for anyone trying to copy us.”
The company’s new solar films are ultra-lightweight and transparent and can be integrated into building and construction materials, car roofs and “street furniture”. The first batch of solar films being manufactured will be used for concrete façade projects as well as for its partners’ pilot products and prototypes.
Commenting on its customers, Thibaud Le Séguillon, stated, ““Our first customers and partners are early adopters. We work with them closely to make our product a de-facto standard as solar energy harvesting components. Energiewende goes beyond replacing nuclear power plants with wind and solar farms. Heliatek solar films will be used in applications never served before by traditional PV.”
The company is now seeking to raise an additional €60 million from current and new investors to increase the production capacity. With production now ready, it is on-schedule to deliver the films to its partners for application development by the third quarter of 2012.
On August 17, Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Heliatek, and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer, co-founder and CTO, gave Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier and Prime Minister of Saxony Stanislaw Tillich a tour of the production facility. They presented their guests with finished solar films. Peter Altmaier highlighted that Germany may not be able to compete with many countries for the cheapest products. However, he believed that Germany is at the forefront when it comes to competing for the best technology, and for state-of-the-art and ecological solutions.
Germany’s solar industry has been booming. Latest statistics showed that the country installed a record 4.3GW of PV capacity in the first half of this year. This figure compares to just 1.71GW installed in the same period last year.