In conversation with DR. WEIMING ZHANG, CTO, EVP, Heraeus Photovoltaics
LET’S BEGIN WITH A GLIMPSE OF YOUR HERAEUS PRESENCE AND OFFERINGS IN INDIA?
Heraeus is a globally leading technology group. In 2017, Heraeus generated revenues of €21.8 billion. With approximately 13,000 employees in 40 countries, the FORTUNE Global 500-listed company holds a leading position in its global markets. Heraeus was founded in 1851 and is one of the top 10 family-owned companies in Germany. Heraeus group has been active in India since the 1930s; now we have more than 500 employees in India.
Our Photovoltaics business unit has a strong global presence with multiple manufacturing, R&D, sales, and application engineering locations. Our main product is silver metallization paste which is used in manufacturing solar cells, for which we have >35% global market share. Additionally, we have strategic collaboration and development agreements to help several leading solar cell makers achieve efficiency gains. In the last 12 months, we have taken a leadership role in India and established dedicated local sales & application engineering team. This has enabled us to intensify our customer relationship and provide secure supply chain to our customers. Additionally, we have established dedicated resources in our Engineering & Technology Center in Singapore, to better tailor and further speed up customization of silver pastes for Indian cell manufacturers. As a result, we have solidified our position in the Indian market and have better understanding of customers’ needs and intricacies of serving them as compared to our competitors.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AT YOUR ORGANIZATION?
Heraeus continuous to dedicate resources to help customers achieve lower cost per watt by helping them take their efficiency to new heights. Earlier this year, we launched SOL9651 family of silver metallization paste which has received an overwhelming response from the market and boosted our global market share. The industry has appreciated the ultra-fine line print capability, excellent long term printability, high open circuit voltage (Voc), reduced silver consumption and overall higher efficiency generated by using the SOL9651 family of pastes. Additionally, we have expanded our products and solutions portfolio across the solar value chain and are offering cell line optimization service, screens, lamps, Heraglaze (diffusion barrier for making multicrystalline silicon wafers) and Hecaro (electrically conductive adhesives).
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE RECENT TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENTS IN YOUR SECTOR?
While PERC and Bi-Facial technology are very common globally, Indian players are now looking forward to adopting this technology. These technologies boost solar cell efficiencies to 21-22 %. In general, cell efficiencies are increasing at rapid pace and competing in the market requires increased R&D investments and quick turnaround time in cost reduction and optimization. This is only possible to achieve by working with companies such as Heraeus that are very innovative, present in entire value chain and have a global footprint.
WHAT ARE YOUR GROWTH PLANS FOR THE INDIAN MARKET?
We are very optimistic about the long term outlook of the Indian market. We plan to bring some of our cutting edge products to the Indian as the market leap frogs in its technological needs.
With our expanded manufacturing capacity and global footprint, we have enough bandwidth to support the ambitious plans of solar photovoltaic installation and manufacturing in India. We will be unveiling our new products and solutions at the REI show.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE LATEST TRENDS IN DEMAND FOR YOUR PRODUCTS & SERVICES IN INDIA? WHERE DO YOU SEE THE NEXT DEMAND GROWTH COMING FROM?
Indian market is driven by economics and with the recent drop in PV prices the economics have become even more lucrative. Additionally, the recently announced safeguard duties, and intention of the government to bring another major tender of 80-100 GW; will boost domestic manufacturing. We expect this to generate more investment in equipment and advanced technology. With our industry recognized technical expertise, broad range of advanced products & solutions we expect to be the first choice for domestic solar cell manufacturers to rely on. We are looking forward to expanding our market leadership that we have demonstrated in China and South East Asia to the Indian market.