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“Tesla’s and SolarCity’s launch of multiple styled solar roof tiles is great news”: Midsummer CEO Sven Lindström

KTH) set a new Swedish fuel efficiency record with 181.5 km/kWh / Photo: Midsummer

Sven Lindström, CEO of solar tech company Midsummer, today says that he finds Tesla’s and SolarCity’s launch of multiple styled solar roof tiles replicating original tile aesthetics very encouraging:

(WK-intern) – “This is great news and exactly what the solar energy, roofing and building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) industries need! As Musk points out, it’s not that complicated. Tiles with integrated PV have been around for years and may now finally take off in a big way”, comments Mr. Lindström.

Midsummer is the leading technology provider of equipment for cost-effective manufacturing of flexible CIGS thin film solar cells.

Electric vehicles maker Tesla Motors Inc recently presented a much-awaited solar roof product developed with SolarCity. The shingles are made from quartz glass and solar cells. The solution will cost less than a traditional roof when the expected utility bill savings are taken into account, the company says. In Elon Musk’s plan, the solar roof is not a lonely product. The solar tiles are one element of a three-part solution, including also energy storage and electric cars.

In Sven Lindström’s recent analysis “Solar on houses needed for 2020 target”, he says the future of urban solar energy lies in integrating PV into roofing materials and facades already at the factory. He now comments on the new product by Tesla-SolarCity: 

“This is great news, but it is not that complicated” 

“This is great news and exactly what the industry needs! As Musk points out, it’s not that complicated. Tiles with integrated photovoltaics have been around for years, batteries are nothing new, nor are electric cars. But as everyone knows, Musk does it really well and it looks good”, said Sven Lindström, CEO of Midsummer AB. 

“Starting with Tesla and the electric cars: Most major car companies has had concept cars with more or less success, but never really launched any viable products out of those concepts. Probably because people working with cars love combustion engines, oil and getting their hands dirty while listening to the amazing sound of a V8 in their garage.”

“Now that Tesla is established as the most successful luxury brand we hear news that both VW and Mercedes will transform their portfolio of gas (or diesel…) guzzling cars to fully electric. They do not do it because of their passion to electric engines, but because they have to, to stay alive.”

Roof material manufacturer without PV solutions need to re-think their business model

“Hopefully we will see the same trend in photovoltaics (PV). Until know, PV has been a more or less aesthetic add on. Now it is integrated, looks good and there is not much reason to NOT install PV.”

“So, who should be threatened by this launch? Well, as Musk points out our electricity consumption will increase, worldwide! That means there is plenty of space for more PV to be manufactured with any look. However, roof material manufacturers that do not have a PV solution maybe need to re-think their business model. Are they only selling water protection materials or is there a way for them to also contribute to the energy needs of the house?”

Musk’s holistic view beats the old industrial conglomerates once again

“With his holistic view, Musk puts together our needs of transport and energy with roofs and batteries. Very few companies are able to do this. You would have expected GE, ABB, Dow Chemical or maybe Saint Gobain to come up with an integrated concept, but instead it is this company in Silicon Valley that once again beat the old industrial conglomerates. Maybe there is time for some consolidation between building material manufacturers, PV companies and utilities? Are those industries transforming just as the German car industry?”

Midsummer is a leading global provider of turnkey production lines for cost-effective manufacturing of flexible thin film CIGS (copper, indium, gallium and selenium) solar cells. Midsummer has developed a rapid process for the production of these solar cells using sputtering of all layers of the solar cell. This allows for scalable and cost-effective manufacturing of thin film solar cells. Midsummer’s customers are manufacturers of thin-film solar cells worldwide.

About Midsummer

Midsummer is a leading supplier of equipment for cost-effective manufacturing of CIGS thin film flexible solar cells. Midsummer’s turnkey manufacturing lines have a small footprint, are perfectly scalable and allow for small-scale production of solar cells and modules.

Midsummer’s customers are thin film solar cell manufacturers all over the world. CIGS flexible solar modules are growing in popularity thanks to their low weight, flexibility and durability. Applications are e.g. floating modules, vehicles, landfills, portable power generation and membrane roofs on factories, offices and other structures that are not strong enough for traditional glass modules.

Founded in 2004 by people with a background from the optical disc manufacturing equipment and the photo mask industry, Midsummer has its head office in Stockholm, Sweden. Midsummer was the fastest growing green tech company in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in 2007-2011 (according to Deloitte).

About CIGS thin film solar cells

CIGS stands for copper-indium-gallium-selenium, a metal alloy that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect (PV). The CIGS absorber is deposited on a stainless steel substrate, along with electrodes on the front to collect current. The cells are then connected in series and covered by a protective layer of plastic to form a flexible solar module.

Since a stainless steel substrate is used, the modules can be made without glass. The CIGS solar modules are therefore much lighter, flexible and can be made frameless, to suit applications where traditional silicon solar cells cannot be used, e.g. on structures that are uneven, moving or weak.

CIGS solar cells are manufactured by sputtering the material onto 156×156 mm stainless steel substrates. The solar cells from Midsummer are free of cadmium, a toxic material usually used in CIGS and other thin film solar cells. Flexible CIGS solar modules are gaining market share thanks to its high efficiency, low weight, flexibility and durability.

PM: Midsummer AB

KTH) set a new Swedish fuel efficiency record with 181.5 km/kWh / Photo: Midsummer

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