While the photovoltaic industry is used to producing in Asia, SwissINSO and its subsidiary Kromatix rely on the local area to manufacture their colored glass technology for solar panels. Two production lines will be installed in the former Romontois halls of Tetra Pak, said the Economic Promotion of the Canton of Friborg in a press release published on Monday. “The Romont site is perfect, both for the premises themselves and for the logistics. And let’s not forget that this locality is the Swiss capital of stained glass and glass ”, indicates Rafic Hanbali, president of the company based in Lausanne.
Beyond the image of Epinal, he hopes that the location in Romont will allow cooperation with surrounding companies. Above all, he specifies that “made in Switzerland always makes the difference”. After having carried out tests in Dubai and in Germany, SwissINSO decided to favor a production close to EPFL, from which its technology and research originate.
Fifty jobs created over time
The factory, which is automated, will be partly operational from the end of February and will be fully operational by the end of June to meet growing demand. About fifteen people will work there initially. The company is targeting 50 employees at Romont within two and a half years. The investment amounts to “several million francs”. The Romont factory will supply tailor-made products, in small to medium quantities, which will be primarily intended for Europe and North America. This year, production should reach between 40,000 and 50,000 m² of colored panels. “Standard” manufacturing is carried out in Germany.
The particularity of Kromatix technology? No more solar panels only black or dark blue: it allows other shades of glass thanks to a nanotechnological treatment using no pigment and allowing the sun’s rays to pass through. This special glass is then used for solar panels. Thus adorned, they can be placed on the walls of buildings and no longer just on the roofs, like the emblematic International School of Copenhagen. The power loss is 2.5 to 10% compared to a standard panel, according to SwissINSO. The company currently employs 24 people, not counting those at the new Romont plant.
The company, profitable for two years, should achieve a turnover of between 7 and 8 million francs in 2021 and targets 36 million next year. To continue to develop, SwissINSO plans to launch a first fundraising campaign in 2021.