First Solar buys Swedish solar firm Evolar
Acquisition of thin film perovskite specialist to accelerate next-generation PV technology
US-based First Solar has acquired Evolar AB, a Swedish developer of perovskite technology. The purchase price is approximately $38 million paid at closing and up to an additional $42 million to be paid subject to certain technical milestones being achieved in the future.
The acquisition is expected to accelerate the development of next-generation PV technology, including high-efficiency tandem devices, by integrating Evolar’s know-how with First Solar’s existing research and development (R&D) streams, intellectual property portfolio, and expertise in developing and commercially scaling thin film PV.
“With this acquisition, along with our new innovation centre in the United States and longstanding commitment to R&D, we are investing not just in First Solar’s future, but the future of solar energy,” said Mark Widmar, chief executive officer, First Solar.
Evolar’s laboratory in Uppsala, Sweden, will continue to conduct research activity, marking the first time that First Solar will have an R&D facility in Europe. Upon closing of the transaction, approximately 30 of Evolar’s R&D staff will transition to First Solar, working in close collaboration with the company’s team of about 60 scientists at its advanced research technology centre in Santa Clara, California, and the development teams in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Widmar added, “In addition to significantly expanding our capacity for advanced research, we are pleased to extend our R&D footprint to Europe. By connecting our advanced research lab in California with Europe and building the Western Hemisphere’s largest PV R&D innovation centre in Ohio, we are effectively establishing and leading a uniquely transatlantic effort to develop and commercialize the next generation of photovoltaics.”
Founded in 2019 by veterans of the CIGS industry, Evolar focused on developing solutions, including manufacturing equipment, for commercialising a tandem solar technology using perovskite thin films. Evolar has produced several thin film efficiency records, including the current 23.6 percent world record for CIGS research solar cells. Its team works closely with European research institutions, including Uppsala University.
Markus Gloeckler, chief technology officer, First Solar said: “The future of PV clearly lies in thin film semiconductors, and few other solar technology companies are as well placed to develop and commercialise future solar technologies as First Solar is. We are thrilled about the opportunity that lies ahead and look forward to welcoming the Evolar team to First Solar.”
In October 2022, First Solar announced that it would construct a new R&D innovation centre in Perrysburg, Ohio. The facility, representing an investment of up to $370 million, and is expected to accelerate the development and production of advanced thin film PV.
Scheduled to be completed in 2024, the new R&D centre will be located near First Solar’s existing Perrysburg manufacturing facility, covering an area of approximately 1.3 million square feet. It will feature a high-tech pilot manufacturing line allowing for the production of thin film and tandem PV modules.