Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 09. Juni 2010 - Q-Cells SE (QCE; WKN code 555866) is heading to the Intersolar photovoltaic trade fair in Munich with an innovative portfolio of application-oriented products. Visitors to the fair (June 9-11, 2010) can inspect the 'miniature solar house' at the company's stand (B 6.43) for inspiration on how Q-Cells’ portfolio of modules can be used across a variety of applications: from flat and slanted roofs to building façades. Q-Cells' systems know-how will also be on full display, ranging from mid-sized projects for commercial and industrial clients to utility-scale solar parks. High-quality crystalline solar cells are the other main ingredient in the updated product portfolio. Every aspect of the trade fair presence is intended to highlight Q-Cells' strategic shift from a pure solar cell manufacturer to an integrated provider of photovoltaic solutions.
"Through the new product portfolio, we're offering our customers in all market segments the right product for any application - from solar cells to modules through to solar power systems", says Q-Cells CEO Nedim Cen in describing the company's tranformation. "We're now leveraging our many years in cell production and experience with large-scale solar parks into the module business and mid-sized systems field. This sets us up well for the long term on the international photovoltaic market and whatever developments it might bring."
Innovative product solutions for any application
Q-Cells now offers an innovative product portfolio with application-oriented solutions. Beyond the solar cells that Q-Cells used to become an industry leader since the company's founding in 1999, crystalline solar modules now also complement the existing catalog of thin-film modules. Complete solar installations for commercial and industrial requirements further expand the solar power plant options. In the systems business, Q-Cells offers services including long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) of solar parks. Taken as a whole, Q-Cells can provide a broad spectrum of photovoltaic products and services, featuring top quality solutions tailored to every need.
Q.PRO, Q.SMART and Q.BASE are the names of the modules designed to meet any application need - from private rooftop installations to façades for standard office buildings to solar power plants providing thousands of households with power from the sun. All solar modules feature high-quality components crafted in line with Q-Cells' strict standards. Each Q-Cells module is furthermore subjected to the strictest quality controls as well as routine testing, exceeding certifications standards.
Q.PRO is intended for both private as well as small to mid-sized commercial and industrial rooftop installations. Q.PRO is based on multicrystalline solar cells with efficiencies of up to 17% from Q-Cells’ production.
Q.SMART is a thin-film module based on CIGS technology, with a homogenous black surface for a perfect fit on projects where aesthetics matter. Even for situations where little of the sun's rays hit the units, the very good low-light response makes it a clever choice - with frame or without. One innovation being shown to the public for the first time is the Q.SMART UF L, an unframed module that is 25% larger. That extra space not only enables better performance (up to 110 Wp), but also brings cost benefits from the moment it's installed.
Q.BASE modules, with their excellent price/performance ratio, are based on crystalline solar cells and targeted to applications focused on large-scale projects and solar parks. .
High-quality solar cells are produced exclusively by Q-Cells in Germany and Malaysia for processing into modules by selected production partners. In all cases, manufacturing takes place following Q-Cell's precise specifications - German Engineering through and through. The thin-film modules, for sales effective immediately under the Q.SMART name, are produced by Q-Cells’ subsidiary in the town of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, which is where Q-Cells produces its solar cells in Germany and has its headquarters as well.
The quality of the Q-Cells products comes through diligent optimization of the production processes, backed by the strictest controls. Long years of experience in industrial cell production and the systems business flow into the production and application of crystalline modules. The move into the module business extends the company's offering in value chain and will ensure its position in the face of strong international competition.
With an efficiency of 13.0 %, the Q.SMART UF module (formerly CIGS SL1) from Q-Cells has also set a new world record for volume production thin-film modules. The world-renowned Fraunhofer ISE testing institute confirmed that value based on the 0.750 m2 of total area efficiency for a Q-Cells CIGS SL1 module. The aperture area efficiency for 0.684 m2 totaled 14.2%, placing it at the front of the pack globally for thin-film modules ( as published in "Progress in Photovoltaics").
One source for sales and service
The innovative product portfolio presented by Q-Cells for the first time at Intersolar 2010, is accompanied by a strengthening of the sales and service departments. Beyond the self-explanatory product names that are organized into a uniform brand architecture, the sales department has also been reorganized - with a
clear orientation toward market segments and regions - with a centralized customer service team established to handle all commercial and technical needs. For Q-Cells' business partners and customers, this means comprehensive service from one source. Q-Cells has also set a manufacturer's warranty of 10 years for its solar modules - setting a new standard for the industry.
Beginning at Intersolar 2010, Q-Cells is expanding its customer base to include wholesalers and large installation companies which can now purchase photovoltaic modules directly from Q-Cells. Private end-customers can purchase products exclusively through these distribution channels or through Q-Cells cell customers (OEMs). Existing relationships with module manufacturers, the company’s cell customers will not be affected by the expanded market access, as production capacities are also being increased and the expected market growth of over 30% continues to open up additional sales opportunities worldwide. The entire module roll-out is being accompanied by comprehensive marketing support and an international campaign tailored to target audiences. Finally, the entire product communications concept has been redesigned to be more user-friendly.
Hans-Gerd Füchtenkort, who joined the Q-Cells SE board on May 25 with responsibility for Marketing and Sales, emphasizes the importance of the company’s applications focus: "The worldwide photovoltaic market offers tremendous growth opportunities that we can take advantage of with a clear orientation toward the requirements of our customers. In the process, we are refocusing our products, service and sales strategy in a very targeted way."
In 2010, Q-Cells expects to place modules in the market capable of producing between 100 to 150 MWp in total. While Germany remains one of the key markets for the solar industry, the core markets of France and Italy are also major targets in Europe for Q-Cells. The system business is slated for expansion in North America and increasingly in the Middle East, Australia and India, while Q-Cells is also working with strong distribution partners in Japan to expand the module business there.
Concrete steps towards a strategic reorientation
The production and market introduction of crystalline solar modules, in addition to the thin-film modules introduced some time ago, is a central component in the strategic transformation at Q-Cells. The presentation of the Q.SMART and Q.PRO modules at Intersolar is a first step in the expansion of the company’s product portfolio to include application-related components and systems solutions. Premium monocrystalline solar modules are foreseen as the next major product for Q-Cells, with launch expected by late 2010.
The versatile portfolio of solar modules is also suitable for the market segment covering mid-sized photovoltaic installations for commercial and industrial users. For example, this segment has seen two projects involving roughly 11 MWp executed in Ahorn (Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany), with handover to the investor expected in June.
The above demonstrates how Q-Cells is working systematically toward the strategic transformation announced in March 2010. Beyond the expansion of the product portfolio, the company is also focusing on the investment portfolio. This includes, for example, the search for an investor in Q-Cells’ subsidiary Calyxo, which produces thin-film modules based on cadmium-telluride technology (CdTe) basis. Calyxo has made tremendous progress in recent months on optimizing its processes and can now point to module efficiency of over 10%. The Q-Cells stand at the Intersolar 2010 trade fair underscores the close ties to Calyxo. In the area of thin-film technologies, changes in the global photovoltaic market have led Q-Cells to focus primarily on the CIGS technology of its Solibro subsidiary (Q.SMART modules) going forward.
Source: Q-Cells SE