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10 January 2013

China’s Hanergy completes acquisition of Silicon Valley CIGS PV firm MiaSolé

Beijing-based Hanergy Holding Group Ltd (claimed to be China's largest privately owned renewable energy firm) has finalized its acquisition of MiaSolé of Santa Clara, CA, USA, which was founded in 2001 to make copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

The strategic partnership follows a 9-month search by MiaSolé, which has already attracted more than $550m from investors including KPCB, Vantage Point and other significant venture investors. The acquisition also follows Hanergy’s purchase from Q.Cells SE of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany last June of its thin-film subsidiary Solibro GmbH, which produces CIGS PV modules under the brand name Q.SMART.

Hanergy’s latest acquisition should boost MiaSolé’s operations. Upon completion of the transaction, Hanergy plans to ramp up MiaSolé’s factory to full capacity. The plant's 100-plus employees in engineering, technology and manufacturing will be preserved, and Hanergy expects to hire additional staff. Hanergy says it will also make sustained investment in MiaSolé’s R&D.

Hanergy says that the transaction has received regulatory approvals by both the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and Chinese authorities.

“Hanergy is committed to developing thin-film PV technology, providing turn-key solutions, and developing solar plants. The future of solar energy is thin-film technology,” says Hanergy’s chairman Li Hejun. “This acquisition allows us to add a highly efficient flexible product to our portfolio. Hanergy's vision to lead CIGS technology globally, and its combined strength with Solibro and MiaSolé, now make for a diversified and compelling product, which will be offered to a global customer base,” he adds. 

“MiaSolé has advanced solar technology by developing the highest-efficiency and lowest-cost CIGS modules, but we needed to align with a strategic partner in order to deploy our technology across a larger global scale,” says MiaSolé’s CEO John Carrington. “I greatly appreciate and identify with Hanergy's unique business model, its focus on and belief in thin-film solar technology, and its vision of providing clean-energy solutions to the world,” he adds. “Hanergy will secure our CIGS technology, which boasts the world's highest conversion efficiency, to complement its existing technologies and promote the company’s leap-forward development in its global technological integration. MiaSolé will enjoy a fully optimized capital structure, enabling us to focus on R&D and capacity breakthroughs, and become more competitive by riding on Hanergy’s global advantages.”

Hanergy says that it previously decided to invest in the CIGS co-evaporation technology that Solibro has developed over the last 25 years. After completion of the acquisition, Solibro will ramp up to annual production capacity of 100MW in Thalheim to supply Hanergy’s European customers. Now, although MiaSolé’s CIGS follows a different technological line, the two can share patents and thus improve conversion efficiency. MiaSolé has achieved record flexible PV efficiency of 15.5%. It is expected that CIGS efficiency will rise further to above 17% within 24 months, and that production cost will drop below $0.50 per Watt within 24 months.

Established in 1994, Hanergy’s thin-film PV production capacity has now achieved 3GW in total. The firm now has more than 8000 staff. The firm says that thin-film solar cells have the exclusive advantages of low material consumption, low energy consumption, and zero pollution. Thin-film solar cells can also be made on flexible substrates to form lightweight and flexible PV modules. Such flexible PV modules are easy to install, the firm adds, because no supporting holders are needed. They are hence greatly beneficial for application to non-bearing or limited-bearing rooves. Hanergy says that it will therefore continue to focus on thin-film technology.

MiaSolé reorganizes manufacturing and operations to reduce costs

Hanergy to acquire Q.CELLS' CIGS PV subsidiary Solibro

Tags: MiaSolé Hanergy CIGS



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