Polish firm establishing module plant using Meyer Burger’s ‘SmartWire’ technology



Hanplast, a high-precision plastic mouldings engineering firm based in Poland is the first company to deploy Meyer Burger’s ‘SmartWire’ interconnect technology in a PV module assembly plant.

Talking to PV Tech during Intersolar Europe, Hanplast’s executives as well as JV business partner and Poland’s largest EPC firm, FreeVolt said it had signed a production equipment contract with Meyer Burger to supply and support the ramp of the novel technology at a new dedicated facility in the first quarter of 2015.

Jaroslaw Miszcuk, founder and member of the board of Hanplast told PV Tech: “We have 21 years of plastics processing experience and use of tooling and are a major supplier to IKEA for many years. We have been planning for two years and recently completed the construction of a new 18,000 square metre building for module production.”

The new PV module entrant will initially ramp an 85MW line with customers already lined up to support the production ramp, Miszcuk told PV Tech.

The company has crucially partnered with FreeVolt, which expects to deploy around 35MW of the ‘SmartWire’ based modules in various PV power plant projects across residential and commercial markets and expects to use around 20% of Hanplast initial production capacity for its own projects, according Kukasz Nowinski, CEO of FreeVolt.

However, the strong customer relationship Hanplast enjoys with IKEA could open the doors for both companies to collaborate in the PV business, something Hanplast executives hinted was in the works.

Indeed, other long-term customers in its core plastics business are also deemed to be potential customers.

Hanplast is also teaming with Meyer Burger via its SmartWire technology pilot line to provide further technology updates, material development and production improvements over time.

Meyer Burger’s pilot line will also be used for module certification purposes to fast track the initial production ramp in Poland.

One of the initial R&D programs Hanplast will develop is a plastic module frame system to replace aluminium mouldings. It will also develop its own junction boxes.

In a second phase collaboration with Meyer Burger, expected to be initiated in 2016, Hanplast will use cells deploying the equipment supplier's heterojunction design.

Meyer Burger’s SmartWire technology is claimed to boost overall module conversion efficiencies while lowering production costs by reducing losses between cells and module strings as well as significantly reducing bill of materials such as Ag paste consumption.

Poland is also home to OEM manufacturing firm Jabil Circuit, which has a module assembly plant in the country, currently extensively used by ReneSola to provide modules into the EU that avoid import duties and limits to shipment quotas from its manufacturing plants in China.

Jabil Circuit is said to have expanded PV module capacity in Poland to meet increased outsourcing demand and had a capacity of around 1GW. 

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