Autowell (ATW), a Chinese provider of manufacturing equipment for PV products, has disclosed to Chinese news outlets that it plans to raise RMB 550 million by selling its shares to specific investors. The proceeds from the upcoming round of fundraising will be mainly used to develop high-end and intelligent manufacturing equipment related to the following application areas: (1) manufacturing of N-type cells, (2) semiconductor chip packaging and testing, and (3) manufacturing of lithium battery cells. ATW aims to expand its offerings to include core processing tools and systems for N-type TOPCon cells, OSAT, and lithium batteries. With the private issuance of shares, ATW is expected to obtain the capital that it needs to develop and commercialize these advanced manufacturing solutions.
ATW also revealed its distribution scheme for the proceeds from the private share issuance. Of the RMB 550 million that it will be raising, RMB 100 million will be used for the R&D of the core manufacturing equipment for N-type TOPCon cells, RMB 150 million will be used for the R&D of the core manufacturing equipment for chip packaging, and RMB 50 million will be used for the R&D of the core manufacturing equipment for lithium batteries. In addition to these capex items, ATW will also use some of the proceeds to improve its cash flow (i.e., RMB 100 million) and set up a reserve fund for acquiring technologies in the future (i.e. RMB 150 million).
The participants of the PV industry are now working on the next generation of cell technologies and designs that offer higher gains in conversion efficiency. TOPCon and HJT have emerged as candidates that have a huge market potential and could succeed PERC as the mainstream cell technology. The existing production lines for PERC cells can be upgraded to become production lines for TOPCon cells. Due to this rather significant degree of compatibility, the additional investments in acquiring the production capacity for TOPCon cells are much smaller than the additional investments in acquiring the production capacity for HJT cells. At the same time, TOPCon cells surpass PERC cells in conversion efficiency with the rate of 25.25% in a laboratory setting and the rate of 24.50% for mass-produced cells. Hence, converting production lines for PERC cells or building new production lines for TOPCon cells may turn out to be the popular options among PV product manufacturers in the next few years.