In a recent press release you discussed a paradigm shift within the solar industry. Investors have seen firsthand how stocks reflected massive changes in this sector. Can you expand on that thought and on how your company has adjusted to these changes?
A: XsunX CEO Tom Djokovich
The good news is that PV installations worldwide are on track to increase about 19% this year, and most analysts see near 17% CAGR through 2020. Almost every nation or region now has a long-term renewable energy plan that includes a significant portion to solar. This is fantastic for the industry and XsunX. However, these numbers come on the heels of several years of overcapacity during which we saw intense completion, significant plant closures, and prices declining to levels that are below the typical production costs of many PV manufacturers. This had created huge declines in investor confidence.
During this period of shakeout and market rationalization, we felt that attempting to compete without any real differentiation could lead to rapid failure. So, XsunX adapted by focusing on the development of our CIGSolar® technology as a next-generation replacement technology for the use of silicon. With silicon, the dominant technology in use today, having been squeezed to virtually a zero margin business, the assumptions we made at the initial launch of our technology development (that low cost CIGS solar cells could replace silicon and revive margins), are still true today.
The company also reported that Dr. John R. Tuttle had joined the Company's Advisory Board. Can you give an overview of his background and what he brings to the table for XsunX?
A: XsunX CEO Tom Djokovich
In my opinion, Dr. Tuttle is an entrepreneur and cutting edge scientist wrapped into one and that's not easy to find in the PV sector. He has over 30 years' experience during which he was a Senior Scientist at NREL, where his research guided the fabrication of thin-film CIGS PV devices, elevating the science with multiple world-record efficiencies, and he has shown success as an entrepreneur building a PV tech business from the ground up.
There are a lot of talented engineers and scientists in the industry that will deliver exactly what you ask for without regard for practicality. If you want examples, just look at the Solyndra project - great engineering - impractical application of the technology. In today's market, we were looking for someone that could help identify opportunities and ways to adapt our technology into markets that some may be overlooking. John is that type of person.
Can you give us a brief overview of CIGSolar® technology and how that plays into the changes in the solar industry as you foresee it?
A: XsunX CEO Tom Djokovich
The general science of CIGS ( Copper Indium Gallium (di) Selenide) thin film solar cells is well known. The issues have been in transitioning world-class laboratory results into world-class, large-scale manufacturing systems. Therefore, you might say it isn't as much of a science challenge as an engineering application challenge. In looking at the problem, we decided to take a page from the hard disc-drive industry (a thin film industry) and apply some of the lessons' they have learned.
There are several ways to make CIGS and we use co-evaporation - the method that has produced the best efficiency results. Scaling co-evaporation has presented challenges, so our idea was to scale the number of controlled points of evaporation and not the evaporation technology itself. This is in essence what the hard disc industry did when they replaced large area manufacturing techniques with mass small area manufacturing methods. The results were passed along to consumers in the form of higher memory capacity and lower pricing. That's the effect we believe our CIGSolar® technology can provide to the industry.
Tom, what do you see as both the biggest obstacles and opportunities for your company and the sector in general?
A: XsunX CEO Tom Djokovich
First, let me say that I think that the stars are aligning again for the industry. Several years of over-capacity has in many ways produced positive effects such as the elimination of numerous inefficient manufacturers, cost reductions that continue to make solar more and more attractive as a viable alternative to coal and nuclear, and a hundred gigawatts of installed capacity with hundreds more planned has increased PV's relevance as a mainstream source of power production.
The challenge that we see is working through the residual effects of the billions of dollars that were lost by investors and manufacturers in investments made into other thin film technologies such as amorphous silicon. The rapid decline in silicon pricing cut any value proposition offered by amorphous or non-coevaporation CIGS off at the knees. It took the market by surprise and what we are working to accomplish is to rebuild the confidence of investors in next-generation thin film manufacturing techniques.
The good news is that silicon pricing has stabilized - that makes it easier to predict longer-term value propositions in new technologies such as our CIGSolar®. In addition, with long-term renewable energy plans being adopted in developing regions worldwide we see more opportunities for CIGSolar®. The cost differences between deploying silicon manufacturing and CIGSolar® infrastructure are significant. This is why we have been responding to firms in those regions interested in deploying CIGSolar® as their technology choice.
About XsunX (OTCQB: XSNX)
XsunX, Inc. is working to commercialize a new manufacturing process to produce low cost, high efficiency thin-film Copper Indium Gallium (di) Selenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells. Our patent-pending processing technology, which we call CIGSolar®, focuses on the mass production of thin-film CIGS solar cells utilizing a proprietary multi-area thermal deposition process to minimize processing defects to create highly uniform CIGS films. These cells match silicon solar cell dimensions and can be offered as a non-toxic, high-efficiency and lowest-cost alternative to the use of silicon solar cells. The company is offering licenses for the use of the CIGSolar® process technology, and plans to generate revenue through licensing fees and manufacturing royalties for the use of the CIGSolar® technology.
For more information please call XsunX at 888-797-4527, or visit the company's website at www.xsunx.com
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