Solar deal could change the industry

Updated: 2013-09-03 10:45

By Yu Wei in San Francisco (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

In what's being described as a win-win-win venture, a three-way agreement has been signed between Austin-based Applied Nanotech Holdings, Inc (APNT), a world leader in inks and pastes for printed electronics, China's Sichuan Yinhe Chemical Co Ltd (YHCC) and Silicon Valley-based Solexel Inc, a solar cell developer and manufacturer. The agreement covers advanced solar paste technology being jointly developed and commercialized by all three parties.

The relationship has been in the works for years. APNT signed an exclusive agreement for its solar ink and paste technology for silicon-based solar cells with YHCC in 2011 and YHCC completed its high volume production plant at its high-tech industrial park in Mianyang Sichuan province in late 2012. And in early 2013, APNT announced that Solexel had achieved a world-record of 20.62 percent efficiency from an ultrathin silicon film for photovoltaic cells.

The new three-way agreement will complete the development and commercialization of APNT's proprietary aluminum paste to achieve an efficiency of 22 percent in Solexel's unique solar cells.

"Solexel, a leading developer of new solar cell technology, which in our opinion is the most promising technology to achieve the lowest dollar per watt price for energy users," said Zvi Yaniv, CEO of APNT, at the signing. "It is moving to putting together the first factory, and they worked with us to develop a special paste for their manufacturing process.

"It is ideal for us to work with partners like Solexel and YHCC - companies that combine outstanding technology with the potential to revolutionize the solar industry in the near future, and bring extensive experience in high volume manufacturing as well," Yaniv said.

"Solexel already decided to use the developed metallic paste in their factory and obviously we need to successfully transfer the technology to the manufacturing plant of YHCC," Yaniv added.

The role that APNT played, according to Yaniv, was establishing a marketing strategy and providing R&D service. In addition, "YHCC will be responsible for volume manufacturing and will pay running royalties to APNT," Yaniv said. "On the other hand all the other applications for inks and pastes for printed electronics are what APNT is focusing on."

Yaniv said that the royalties APNT receives from YHCC related to the sales of their solar paste products would be critical to their cash flow in 2014.

Kwee Lan Teo Yam, vice-president of education and talent alignment at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, said that APNT was one of its most active members.

"They were very happy to be able to come to an agreement," she said. "Each company has its own strengths and by combining all the three, I think they will be able to meet their expectations."

"This three-way agreement is perfect for commercialization purposes," Yaniv said. "First you have an R&D company with an excellent reputation like APNT, then you have the world leader and the champion in developing unique and excellent solar cell technology able to achieve the lowest dollar per watt price. Finally you have an experienced manufacturer that can produce the necessary metallic paste for Solexel in volume production.

"It is a win-win-win situation," he said.

(China Daily USA 09/03/2013 page2)