Canadian Solar: Technology Agreement with Energy Research Center
Canadian Solar Inc. announced that it has signed a joint technology development and transfer agreement with Energy Research Center of the Netherlands ("ECN") to apply the technology for metal wrap-through ("MWT") cells to Canadian Solar's production lines.
MWT cells eliminate the need for front side bus-bars and therefore increase effective surface and the conversion efficiency of a solar cell. A more advanced version of this technology, emitter wrap-through ("EWT") structures, can further eliminate the front surface grid and therefore further increase the cell conversion efficiency. Both of these wrap-through technologies also increase module conversion efficiency by enabling back-side interconnection technology in module production. The specialized module assembly equipment will be developed and manufactured in co-operation with Eurotron, a Netherlands based manufacturer and supplier of handling equipment for module assembly. Higher conversion efficiency cells will allow the Company to produce more powerful solar modules, while potentially reducing manufacturing costs. The transfer of MWT cell technology is expected to take approximately 6 months.
This agreement is part of Canadian Solar's comprehensive high-efficiency research program. In the fourth quarter of 2009, the Company expects to begin commercially introducing a new cell structure which combines a modified selective emitter process and, better texturization, precise state-of-art screen printing and several other improvements. The new structure is expected to raise the conversion efficiency of monocrystalline cells to 18.5% and multicrystalline cells with an estimated 16.8% conversion efficiency. Longer-term objectives for Canadian Solar's research program include researching on hetero-junction intrinsic thin-layer cells and tandem junction cells. These activities are expected to take several years and could result in cells with conversion efficiencies in excess of 20% to as high as 25%.
Canadian Solar's Chairman and CEO, Shawn Qu, said, "We are very pleased to have the Energy Research Center as a technology partner. ECN is a leading institute for high-efficiency cell and module technologies such as MWT. Working together will help us to improve the higher-powered modules currently preferred as a premium product by Canadian Solar's customers. Producing high-efficiency cells is an important part of our commitment to producing premium branded products. In addition to the brand value of these products, higher power modules can reduce manufacturing and installation costs, both of which are critical to making PV systems more cost-effective for end customers."
ECN's chairman of the board, Ton Hoff, said, "Canadian Solar is an ideal partner for us. Its long-term commitment to leveraging R&D to provide higher quality, more cost-effective PV products has made it an industry leader. As a strong and independent research institute, ECN gives their partners a perfect opportunity to apply the latest technologies. By working with ECN, Canadian Solar now has created an opening to achieve a better competitive edge in the PV market. We are excited to be working together because Canadian Solar has the financial strength, global reach and scale needed to move our technology from a laboratory environment to real-world, commercial applications that can help increase the use of environmentally friendly, solar energy systems."
Bram Verschoor, commercial director of Eurotron, said, "We are very eager to make this a successful project. We have collaborated with ECN for several years now and developed the technology to a level that it can be taken out of the research phase. We foresee that this project will be the launch of back-contact module technology into the PV market. We will support Canadian Solar in making this happen."
About Canadian Solar Inc.
Canadian Solar Inc. is a leading vertically integrated provider of ingot, wafer, solar cell, solar module and other solar applications. Canadian Solar designs, manufactures and delivers solar products and solar systems for on-grid and off-grid use to customers worldwide. Canadian Solar is one of the world's largest solar module producers by manufacturing capacity. With operations in North America, Europe and Asia, Canadian Solar provides premium quality, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solar solutions to support global sustainable development. For more information, visit http://www.canadian-solar.com .
About The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands
The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands is the largest research center in the field of energy in the Netherlands. ECN's technology is used in solar energy conversion, as well as for other alternative energy sources, such as biomass, wind energy, hydrogen & clean fossil fuels. In cooperation with universities, ECN develops high-quality knowledge and technology for a sustainable energy system, and transfers these to the market. ECN is located near Petten, the Netherlands, and employs approximately 630 people. For more information please visit http://www.ecn.nl .
Eurotron is a company, specialized in powerful handling equipment for module assembly. A team of dedicated employees invents and produces handling equipment in order to address tomorrows PV questions today. A pro-active attitude and a strong orientation on customer demands have been key factors for Eurotron's success. For more information, visit http://www.eurotron.nl .
Safe Harbor/Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release, including statements regarding the expected benefits of our [license agreement] with ECN, the time required to achieve such benefits and the expected efficiencies of future solar cells, are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These statements are made under the "Safe Harbor" provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by such terms as "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "estimates," the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include technological constraints, general business and economic conditions and the state of the solar industry; governmental support for the deployment of solar power; future shortage or availability of the supply of high-purity silicon; demand for end-use products by consumers and inventory levels of such products in the supply chain; changes in demand from significant customers, including customers of our silicon materials sales; changes in demand from major markets such as Germany; changes in customer order patterns; changes in product mix; capacity utilization; level of competition; pricing pressure and declines in average selling prices; delays in new product introduction; continued success in technological innovations and delivery of products with the features customers demand; shortage in supply of materials or capacity requirements; availability of financing; exchange rate fluctuations; litigation and other risks as described in the Company's SEC filings, including its annual report on Form 20-F originally filed on June 8, 2009. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward looking statements are reasonable, it cannot guarantee future results, level of activity, performance, or achievements. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All information provided in this press release is as of today's date, unless otherwise stated, and Canadian Solar undertakes no duty to update such information, except as required under applicable law.
Alex Taylor, IR Director
Canadian Solar Inc.
Phone: + 1 (519) 954 2057
Fax: + 1 (519) 954 2597