Paul van Gerven
18 August 2020

HyET Solar Netherlands is preparing for high-volume production of its Powerfoil thin-film silicon solar cells. The company is currently scaling up capacity at its home base in Arnhem, while a factory is expected to come online next year in Indonesia. To that end, HyET has entered into a cooperation with Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina and with industrial electronics firm Len Industri based in West Java.

HyET Vopak
HyET Solar is installing Powerfoil on storage tanks of Vopak at the Laurenshaven in Rotterdam. Vopak Ventures acquired a stake in early 2020. Credit: HyET Solar

HyET Solar started life as Helianthos, a subsidiary of power company Nuon. After Nuon was acquired by Vattenfall, the Swedish company chose not to continue the development of the solar foil. Only through a last-minute deal made in 2012, entrepreneur Rombout Swanborn managed to save Helianthos from oblivion (link in Dutch).

Powerfoil consists of polymer-encapsulated amorphous and microcrystalline silicon layers to make a 0.5 millimeter thick foil. Its main advantages compared to mainstream silicon solar cells are low production costs and its lightweight and flexible nature, expanding the application range. The conversion efficiency is 12 percent, but because the foil performs better in diffuse light conditions or partial shading and at higher temperatures, HyET claims its product’s performance is equivalent to 18 percent efficiency glass solar panels.