Oxford Photovoltaics Limited (Oxford PV) was founded in 2010 as a spin-out from the University of Oxford to commercialize a new technology for thin-film solar cells. It was amongst the first in the world to recognize the potential of perovskites to act as a low-cost, highly efficient solar cell absorber material to convert sunlight into electricity.
Oxford PV is developing and commercializing thin-film perovskite solar cells, which can be printed directly onto silicon solar cells, CIGS solar cells or glass. Pioneering work developing perovskite thin-film solar cells has delivered a route to boosting the efficiency of current commercial cells; using a high efficiency coating in a multi-junction or “tandem” cell architecture. In addition, printing perovskites directly onto glass has led to a semi-transparent coating ideal for BIPV applications and, once integrated into the glazing units of a building, the technology is capable of providing a significant percentage of the building’s electrical energy requirements directly from sunlight.
By employing well known and well understood printing processes, focused on inexpensive and abundant raw materials, Oxford PV has developed a highly cost effective technology.
The company has exclusively licensed the rapidly growing portfolio of fundamental intellectual property developed by its academic team.
Oxford PV has acquired the former thin-film production site of Bosch Solar in Germany, to establish a fab with pilot-scale capacity for perovskite wafers. To that end, the Company also received funding of €15 million form the European Investment Bank (EIB), to support the commercialization of its perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cell technology. In June 2018, Oxford PV reported a new perovskite tandem solar cell record, certified by Fraunhofer ISE at a conversion efficiency of 27.3%. Oxford PV’s latest record for a 1 cm2 perovskite-silicon tandem solar, reportedly exceeds the former 26.7% efficiency world record for a single-junction silicon solar cell.
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Professor Snaith said: "Perovskite PV has demonstrated its immense opportunity to transform solar energy generation... I am especially looking forward to the next 12 months and seeing our first commercial perovskite-silicon solar product on the market."
Oxford PV recently stated that it hopes to deliver perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells to high end solar module manufacturers in the first half of 2021, now less than a year away.
The group expects these solar cells to have an efficiency between 26-27%, to increase in efficiency by 1% per year as the company improves its manufacturing techniques. It was said that initially, a 400 watt 60-cell solar module will probably be available.
After ordering a 100 MW HJT production line from Meyer Burger in August 2019, Oxford PV has placed another partial order to expand the HJT line to an integrated 125 MW production line for high-efficiency perovskite HJT tandem cells.
The Swiss solar PV equipment manufacturer Meyer Burger Technology has received this partial order, worth CHF 18 million ($18.2 million).
After forming a strategic partnership in March 2019 between Meyer Burger and Oxford Photovoltaics, Meyer Burger has announced that it has received its first order from Oxford Photovoltaics (Oxford PV), for a heterojunction (HJT) manufacturing line including necessary adaptions enabling the upgrade to perovskite-on-HJT tandem technology.
The order for the upgrade itself will reportedly follow later this year. The current contract volume is about CHF 20 million and provides Oxford PV with an initial manufacturing capacity of 100 MW with plans to expand tandem solar cell production capacity to 250 MW by the end of 2020.
The first close, announced in March 2019, included a significant new investment from Goldwind, the leading provider of integrated renewable energy solutions in China, as well as investment from existing shareholders including Equinor and Legal & General Capital. The additional funds include the major new investment from Meyer Burger, the leading photovoltaic equipment supplier, announced in March 2019, with the remaining investment coming from other new and existing investors.