Half Yearly Report and Accounts
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
The outlook for renewable energy in Australia continues to improve, albeit still in a rather meandering, uncoordinated way. New commercial PV solar projects are being installed at a record rate. At a recent roundtable at ANU in January the overwhelming comment from a cross section of industry and academic participants was that energy policy is still very underdeveloped and the absence of bipartisan agreement on policy and harmonisation with the states means that significant, long-term investment remains very apprehensive and partly sidelined. Certainly, there is ample room for further policy development and implementation and, in the absence of government leadership, it is where universities, for example, should fill the void. The proposed Snowy Hydro No.2 project also occupied a considerable part of the discussion and, to be fair to the federal government, was generally positively perceived. Internationally, we are observing similar trends. New projects are being installed at a record rate and in more and more countries. The trend is strongly driven by the Paris Accord of 2016.
The Finkel Review by the Chief Scientist released in mid-2017 has also provided positive momentum and further helped brush aside the few remaining neo-conservative barnacles inhibiting progress on tackling climate change. Most, if not all, the negative arguments have been exposed for their lack of scientific substantiation and as thinly disguised attempts to protect the fossil fuel industry. However, until an immutable Clean Energy Target is agreed upon and adopted we will lag much of the world in seizing new energy as an opportunity to address climate change and create a substantial new industry in Australia. Clearly, though, the states recognise this situation and have partly filled the policy gap.
Operational Highlights for the First Half Fiscal Year 2018
- Perhaps, the most significant development in Perovskite Solar Cell (PSC) R&D during the 1HFY2018 was the emergence of the alternative P-I-N architecture as a credible alternative to Porous Carbon (PC). Although PC has its roots in EPFL owned IP, it is frequently overlooked in academic circles because it has lower conversion efficiency, despite significantly better stability. The academic world is fuelled by higher and higher efficiencies irrespective of their industrial potential. Hence, our focus initially on PC - meeting all significant IEC 61215 tests. However, P-I-N has the strong prospect of delivering both high industrial efficiency and long-term stability. For example, P-I-N cells are now being produced to achieve efficiencies of 20% or more. In an important industrialisation step, we have already translated this progress into high performing, Au-free cells. So far we have observed little or no thermal degradation at 85 degC and ongoing light-soaking testing is very encouraging. P-I-N is a potential 'kock-out' solution to both glass (Sheet-To-Sheet) and flexible (Roll-To-Roll) substrate applications.
- The Major Area Demonstration (MAD) project that has benefitted from the advanced manufacturing expertise input of VDL ETG has taken further important steps forward, although the final financing arrangements have not been agreed and are subject to concluding negotiation between GSL, CSIRO and Government. There is not any major issue about participation and support, but it is more about navigating through various administrations, particularly as our project is somewhat bespoke. It is, however, considered to be very beneficial on all conventional assessment criteria and we are confident of getting all parties to sign-off very soon. In the meantime, we have begun orders for significant capital equipment, especially where there are long lead times. Negotiations have commenced with CBA, our lead banker, to provide a competitive capital equipment leasing package to lessen our capital needs.
- We are always keenly focussed on minimising shareholder dilution and the $6 million ARENA grant provides considerable leverage on the $2.7 million shareholder equity raising and $2.4 million convertible notes from Tasnee. It is very gratifying and a testimony to our fortitude and world leading technology that 5 years of negotiation and evaluation had a very positive conclusion. Importantly, retail shareholders were in good company in the capital raising with strategic shareholder, Tasnee also strongly supportive of our next stage of scale-up and commercialisation. Given that all the new funding qualifies for ATO R&D rebate, the new funding, if carefully managed, translates into around $15 million of new development funds. GSL is entering a scale that can transform our vision into commercial reality.
- We were pleased to successfully conclude our rebranding exercise where the Company's name(s) changed from Dyesol to Greatcell Solar. Marine Andre (Investor Relations) and Luca Sorbello (Sales) were principally responsible for the project which spanned actions such as a website upgrade, new product packaging and considerable trademark registrations around the globe. Our stakeholders appear very pleased with the way this activity was conducted and it heralds a new era in scale-up and commercialisation for our 3rd generation PSC PV technology.
- From an operational headcount perspective and in order to better effectively drive our expenditure, we have lowered the number of employees from approximately 60 to 50 in the past 12 months. The key drivers have been (a) the shift from R&D to scale-up and commercialisation and (b) outsourcing a considerable amount of legacy research activities to collaboration partners such as EPFL, NTU and Solliance. We continue, however, to attract ongoing grant assistance in flagship projects such as Horizon 2020 - Apolo, meaning we have sacrificed none of our credibility and technology performance, despite a lower cost base. We are also very pleased that we have retained our entire management team, maintaining continuity with all key stakeholder relationships.
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About Greatcell Solar Limited
Greatcell Solar Limited (ASX:GSL) (OTCMKTS:DYSOY) is a global leader in the development and commercialisation of Perovskite Solar Cell (PSC) technology – 3rd Generation photovoltaic technology that can be applied to glass, metal, polymers or cement. Greatcell Solar Limited manufactures and supplies high performance materials and is focussed on the successful commercialisation of PSC photovoltaics. It is a publicly listed company: Australian Securities Exchange ASX (GSL) and German Open Market (D5I). Learn more at our website and subscribe to our mailing list in English and German.
Greatcell Solar Limited