Although we had already been in the photovoltaic industry for nearly a decade, we felt that the real unique strength of this technology had been neglected as the industry was developing — the ability to produce electricity anywhere in the world, without a grid connection, maintenance free and at modular scale.
So we began by focusing on off-grid solar modules, starting with quality control service and employee #1, Allan Chen.
Energy access became a big market. With support from vast improvements in battery and LED technologies, we helped to energize rural areas, mostly in Africa.
Modules with over-dimensioned frames were the status quo, but requirements for solar modules aren’t all the same, so we invented the Z-Frame — which is also more efficient at hot temperatures — our first patent.
Opening of Automated Factory in Changzhou
While leasing a production line, we realized that this market segment needed its own product design and manufacturing concepts to scale up. So we built a factory and designed our own equipment. So Robert Händel (CEO), Frank Hsu (COO) and Tom Tang (CTO) can proudly present OPES’ first self-manufactured products.
OPES soon became the first manufacturer globally to achieve the high quality standard IEC 61215/61730 certification for the full range of off-grid solar modules, even as small as 0.9 Watt.
Ground-breaking Patent in Production
Building a factory also meant research in automation. We made big strides forward with our patented flying fibre laser and the string multiplier.
Our levels of automation and product variety have grown continuously — supported by our smart manufacturing concepts.
It's Watt per Gramm now
We constantly search for new ways to integrate PV technology. In the Fraunhofer Institute, we found the perfect partner to help us build the future of solar. We began to develop new modular ultra-lightweight solar modules with the Fraunhofer CSP Institute in Germany.
Our forward-looking vision also convinced investors. In 2019, the investment funds Quadia from Switzerland and Kawisafi from Kenya joined us to build this industry further, driving it into the future with automation technology and new products.
Continuing Market Leadership
We produced our five-millionth solar panel, and it felt as though we had reinvented the solar industry from scratch. Now, we continue to build this industry with our customers, making solar power present everywhere in our daily life, anywhere where it is needed. It may be found in data-driven devices in a Smart City market or in Solar Home Systems for low income communities — or for anything else that you can imagine.