China’s GS-Solar to aquire a majority stake in Panasonic’s Malaysian solar cell factory and setting up a JV in Japan

Panasonic Corporation announced it has reached an agreement with GS-Solar (China) Company Ltd. to collaborate in the photovoltaic business. Under the agreement, Panasonic will transfer its solar manufacturing subsidiary, Panasonic Energy Malaysia, to GS-Solar, while separating its photovoltaic research and development function in order to establish a new company with the Chinese partner. Panasonic and GS-Solar will jointly operate and invest in this new company in Japan.

Chinese photovoltaic firm GS-Solar is to acquire a 90%  stake in Japanese conglomerate Panasonic’s Malaysian solar cell and  module assembly plant in Malaysia and Panasonic will retain 10%.

The cells Panasonic manufactures for its photovoltaic module HIT are characterized by the company’s proprietary heterojunction structure combining amorphous and monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic cell layers, offering features such as high conversion efficiency, outstanding temperature coefficient – which means low performance degradation at higher temperatures – and bifacial power generation.

GS-Solar, based in Quanzhou, Fujian, is a photovoltaic module manufacturer engaging in research, development and manufacture of heterojunction photovoltaic modules and is recognized for its exceptional technological achievements.

The companies have come to this agreement as they aim to drive further development of heterojunction photovoltaic technologies through the sharing and utilization of their respective technologies and production know-how. This collaboration will allow the introduction of high added-value photovoltaic modules to a market, which is expected to grow on a global scale.

Through this agreement, Panasonic will be able to optimize the development and production capability of its photovoltaic business while continuing to procure and sell photovoltaic modules produced at the Malaysian factory.

Capitalizing on resources created through these activities, Panasonic will integrate its solar business into the energy solutions business, which offers a combination of HEMS (Home Energy Management System), photovoltaic modules, storage batteries, Eco Cute heat pump systems, EV chargers, among others.

Additionally, Panasonic will be contributing to the proliferation of net Zero Energy House (ZEH), new energy management systems for the post Feed-ln Tariff era, and emergency storage power systems for natural disasters. Most importantly, the newly established company will be committed to driving the competitiveness of its PV business through further innovation of heterojunction technologies.

After the transfer, the balance of Panasonic’s solar manufacturing operations remain unaffected by the agreement with GS-Solar. This includes operations in Japan and the United  States.

Panasonic also operates a factory in Fukushima Prefecture, which manufactures photovoltaic cells for watches and electric calculators. The Nishikinohama factory produces modules for automotive applications. The Shimane factory produces cells and other system products, while the Buffalo factory produces cells and modules.

Source: Press Release by Panasonic.