Greatcell Solar (ASX:GSL) 1H18 results & outlook


by Rachael Jones

Greatcell Solar Limited (ASX:GSL) Managing Director, Richard Caldwell talks 1H18 results, improvements in the company's Perovskite Solar Cell (PSC) architecture to deliver industrial efficiency and long-term stability benefits.

Rachael Jones: Hello, I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me today from GreatCell Solar is Managing Director Richard Caldwell. Richard, welcome to FNN.

Richard Caldwell: Hi Rachael, thanks for having me on.

Rachael Jones: So first up, could we start with an introduction to your company?

Richard Caldwell: GreatCell Solar, formerly known as Dyesol, was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2005. We're the world's leader in the scale-up and commercialization of a third-generation photovoltaic technology known as perovskite solar cells. We're firmly engaged at the moment in a commercialization schedule where we seek to commercialize the technology by 2019.

Rachael Jones: Excellent, now to your technology. Can you give us an update on the perovskite in research and development?

Richard Caldwell: Certainly. Third generation PV builds on the benefits and advantages of the first and second generation technologies. So first generation, or the incumbent technology, is what we describe as silicon PV. And the second generation is what is typically referred to as either CIGS or cadmium telluride. But the third generation seeks to build on both of those by being cheaper and more versatile to address what is the burgeoning market for PV in the global marketplace. Last year, it was estimated to be US$100 million, and it's growing very, very quickly.

Rachael Jones: Can you tell me about the major area demonstration projects?

Richard Caldwell: Certainly. This a project that we consider to be a company-making project. We affectionately refer to it as the MAD project. We're collaborating with the CSIRO here in Australia. It's a $17 million project where we seek to make a major area demonstration prototype for demonstration, showcasing, and accreditation. This is a major de-risking exercise prior to commercialization of the technology.

Rachael Jones: Now to your first half 2018 results, what were the highlights?

Richard Caldwell: Well, as a pre-revenue company we don't typically come out with profit-style highlights. What we're seeking to do as a pre-revenue company each half, is to reduce our spend and get closer towards commercialization. So what you will see in this year's first half results is more access to government grants, both here and in Europe, a reduction in corporate spend and also a reduction in R&D spend. So it's a pleasing trend as we move towards profitability in the long term.

Rachael Jones: And Richard, energy policy is never far from the headlines. What does this mean for GreatCell Solar?

Richard Caldwell: Well, energy policy in Australia has a long way to go. There's still a very big hole in terms of well-considered long-term vision for the transition from fossil fuels towards a more balanced mix of energy sources. It really does need to become further de-politicized and a lot of the policy work outsourced, so we can have a long-term vision rather than what appears to happen most of the time is policy made on the run. So there's a long way to go. There's a role, I think, for the universities to start to provide a lot of data, so that the long-term policy's based on intelligent research.

Rachael Jones: Last question, Richard. What can investors expect in the terms of news flow over the next quarter and further out?

Richard Caldwell: Well, I think the MAD project is a platform for enormous progress for the company, because it's a significant de-risking exercise. As I say, it brings together world-class partners in CSR, CSIRO, and also VDL emerging technologies from Europe. So that'll be exciting mapping that progress as we go from establishment of the facility to commissioning and then accreditation. But beyond that, we have some interesting commercialization projects here in Australia and also in Turkey, and potentially in China. So over the next quarter and out perhaps in the next 12 months, there's a lot of technology to report on, and also potential commercialization opportunities to inform the market about.

Rachael Jones: Richard Caldwell, thank you very much for the update.

Richard Caldwell: Thanks Rachael, and thanks for having me on.