Sep 08, 2011 | Amsterdam Helianthos solar cell foil development stopped
Nuon intends to stop the development of Helianthos solar cell foil. The company was unable to find a commercial partner willing to invest the capital and expertise necessary for the transition to profitable production after the R&D phase; the last potential investor recently withdrew from the process. Ramping up large-scale production and a timely product launch are not possible without a partner. This means that the transition from the current R&D project to large-scale production cannot go ahead, and the development plant opened in Arnhem in 2009 will be closed. A social plan is in place for the employees.
In May 2010 Nuon announced that it was looking for a strategic investment partner that would enable the company to launch the Helianthos product on a large scale. The conclusion after an 18-month worldwide quest among more than 150 players in the solar industry and potential investors is that there is not sufficient interest in investing in Helianthos.
Nuon CEO Huib Morelisse comments on the situation: “Solar cell production is increasing worldwide, while prices are dropping sharply. Although Helianthos solar cell foil technology is highly advanced, we have not been able to find a partner that is interested in helping us scale up production, as can be concluded from our unsuccessful search for potential investors. We spent more than 18 months looking for investors and funding Helianthos, but now we have exhausted all available options. It is highly regrettable that we have not been able to launch the product at a competitive price in collaboration with a partner.”
With an investment of over EUR 85 million since 2006, Nuon has brought the technology to the point where the company is now ready to scale up production capacity and launch the solar foil product. The step from a pilot plant to a production plant requires an additional investment of expertise and capital. Unfortunately, no investor has been found for this.
The development plant in industry park De Kleef (Arnhem, the Netherlands) will be closed at a future date. Nuon is currently consulting with the works council regarding the proposed decision. The employees are covered by a social plan.