Press release | 2011-09-08 | 11:15 AM

Helianthos solar cell foil development stopped

Nuon intends to stop the development of Helianthos solar cell foil. It was not possible 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 partner recently withdrew. 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 be carried out. The development plant, opened in Arnhem in 2009, will be closed. The employees will be looked after according to the redundancy plan.

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 sufficient interest is not present.

Nuon CEO Huib Morelisse commented on the situation that has arisen: “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. This can also seen from our unsuccessful search for potential investors. For more than eighteen months, we have examined all the options and have continued to invest in Helianthos. 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 (EUR 200 million). Unfortunately, no investor has been found for this.

The development plant in industrial estate De Klee (Arnhem, the Netherlands) will be closed at a future date. Nuon is in consultation with the workers council regarding this proposed decision and has informed the labour unions. The employees are covered by a redundancy scheme.

Contact for more information:
Nuon Media Relations, Ariane Volz
Phone: +31 (0)88 098 8888