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Meyer Burger Chief Commercial Officer Moritz Borgmann
02.03.2021 - Interview

Interview with Moritz Borgmann

Mr. Borgmann, you’re new to the management team. What motivated you to join Meyer Burger?

I find the advancing pace of climate change to be very worrying and the most important problem humanity needs to solve to preserve the livelihoods of future generations. I have been committed to this goal for many years professionally as well, until now as a consultant at a consulting firm specialized in clean tech. I consider the heterojunction technology developed by Meyer Burger to industrial maturity to be very promising as a basis for the next generation of solar cells. But the Meyer Burger team under the leadership of Gunter Erfurt was ultimately the decisive factor in my joining the operational management: I was impressed by the competence, team spirit, and passion to implement the new vision.

The focus of your role is to build up the new sales organization and marketing – both extremely important to achieve the goals as a cell and module manufacturer. What are the biggest challenges in your view?

Meyer Burger very clearly does not currently have an established position as a cell and module manufacturer, and we have to remedy this as soon as possible. This includes building up largely a completely new sales and marketing organization. I feel very positive because of the enthusiasm I sense all around.

Where do you sense the enthusiasm?

To start with, we are constantly winning over new employees who are all spreading the enthusiastic spirit and want to be involved in the renaissance of the European solar industry. In addition, we are not alone, and have partners for distribution. The response has been extremely positive – we keep getting confirmation that there is a high demand for a premium solar module that is “made in Europe”. On the marketing side, we also have wonderful support – we have been able to retain the wellknown creative agency Jung von Matt to redesign our brand identity.

Meyer Burger is known as a brand within the industry, but not outside it, let alone as a module manufacturer. How do you want to position the new module brand?

This weakness is also our strength. Meyer Burger can build on a brand essence that stands for innovation, top quality and reliability. The brand represents this solidity, which reflects tradition and Swiss origin. This is a wonderful foundation to establish ourselves as the solar brand for the end customers. Up to now, the market has been dominated by Asian brands with largely replaceable technology. We are positioning Meyer Burger as a European premium brand, designed in Switzerland, made in Germany.

Why should customers buy modules specifically from Meyer Burger?

A solar panel is often a purchase for life and can be seen on your roof from afar. Meyer Burger will make a convincing offer: We deliver the most profitable technology to the market so that our customers can get up to 20% more energy from the same area. This is a compelling argument because we often have limited roof space and the demand for energy is constantly increasing due to energy storage, heat pumps, electric water heating, e-mobility, etc. At the same time, our product is very aesthetically appealing and offers top quality. Last, but not least: Meyer Burger manufactures cells and modules in a sustainable way, following high environmental and social standards.


“Meyer Burger can build on a brand essence that stands for innovation, top quality and reliability.”


What will the sales network for solar modules and cells be like? Why are you not selling directly to end customers?

We are very happy about the great interest from end customers and will gladly help them find a competent installer in their region. However, we knowingly decided not to sell directly to end customers and installers in our target markets, but to act in partnership with wholesalers. They are highly competent partners with established connections to the installers and help us launch the product in the market and sell it successfully in the long term.

There is consensus that the PV industry will grow significantly in this decade. What are your estimates and forecasts?

The solar industry’s development has been very impressive in the last decade. I am convinced that this is just the start of a continued explosive development. The rise of solar energy to a globally dominant energy source is unstoppable. Instead of making my own forecasts, I prefer to cite the latest estimates of Jenny Chase of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), who anticipates a market size of up to 194 GW in 2021, after 132 GW were added in 2020 – against the backdrop of a global pandemic, mind you.

Why do you believe in the rebirth of the PV industry in Europe?

People in business and politics have recognized that photovoltaics are a key strategic technology for the future, which we have to master in Europe too. We are experiencing a clear increase in political support. At the same time, the awareness of the vulnerability of global supply chains has increased a lot during the pandemic. This is still an ongoing issue. For example, we are now seeing the freight rates from Asia shoot up tenfold or twentyfold. In light of this, local manufacturing is the only right step.

Can Meyer Burger initiate such a rebirth?

Yes, I think so. As the “engine” of the solar industry, we can also take a leading role in Europe too. We will have a solid foundation with the latest generation of the heterojunction/SmartWire technologies, and the combination of top performance and competitive manufacturing costs. The rebirth of the European solar industry can be successful with our differentiated, proprietary cutting-edge technology. Meyer Burger will lead the way and re-establish the solar industry’s supply chains in Europe in cooperation with other market players.

Meyer Burger has the ambitious goal of becoming the European leader and global player in the manufacturing of highly efficient cells and modules. Are the prerequisites all there?

For the first time in the history of the solar industry we have an underlying technology that delivers the highest performance, but offers competitive manufacturing costs at the same time, so in the medium term we will be well positioned in all the market segments – the rooftop segment for residential, commercial and industrial, as well as large-scale solar power plants. Until now, it was either/or: Premium technology for discerning home owners or undifferentiated average technology for large plants.

Meyer Burger promises that its cutting-edge solar cells and modules will compete with the Asian products. How will this be possible?

The costs of Meyer Burger’s manufacturing process are definitely competitive. Due to the high level of automation and the planned fast growth of production capacities, there are just some small cost disadvantages in individual positions such as payroll costs. We have unbeatable advantages in transportation – not only in terms of costs, but because our products do not travel for weeks on polluting container ships, but instead reach our customers from our factory warehouse within mere days. Most importantly, we are not even competing for the cheapest prices. We have a much better and a differentiated product to offer.

Market launch is planned for July 2021 in view of the Intersolar trade fair in Munich. How certain is this?

We are currently expecting it to be a hybrid trade fair, so an appearance on-site with COVID restrictions and a virtual presentation. Decisive for a market launch is that we will present the product to the installers before the start of production, starting in April. We are working closely with our wholesale partners so that the first Meyer Burger systems can be installed on European roofs shortly after the start of production.

Which markets will you serve in the first phase?

Our focus is on the large European PV markets, starting with Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Interestingly enough, the Swiss market has now reached a considerable size. We believe we can score points with our product there and quickly gain an important market share. In addition, we will initially actively market our product in the Benelux countries, Italy, France, UK, Poland, and the Scandinavian countries. After that, we plan to quickly enter the US market – our conversations there have indicated that there is huge demand for our high-performance product.

Why is Meyer Burger focusing on the rooftop module segment first?

We want to be able to offer the best and most profitable product on the market for rooftop installation. Due to our initially limited production capacity it makes strategic sense to focus on this segment, in which we can maximally boost the value of our technology.


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