SolarWorld, SolarPark open South Korean module factory, create new equipment venture

SolarWorld and South Korean joint-venture partner SolarPark Engineering have commissioned their first solar photovoltaic module-manufacturing factory in Asia. The plant, located in Jeonju, has a 150-MW capacity and can be expanded to 1 GW, the companies said. The companies also announced a new joint venture, SolarPark Manufacturing Equipment.

SolarWorld chairman/CEO Frank Asbeck noted the vigorous market growth for solar power technology in Asia in his remarks. "In Korea and Japan alone, we are expecting an increase in the market volume of at least 800 MW each by the year 2012. These markets will be supplied with the usual SolarWorld quality products from our new manufacturing facility."

The factory was completed on schedule after only six months, according to SolarWorld. There has been €30 million invested in the project, an amount split 50:50 between the two j.v. partners.

SolarWorld and SolarPark also announced they have signed an agreement that will continue their cooperation in the construction of turnkey PV module-manufacturing plants, as well as for third parties. The deal creates another joint venture, SolarPark Manufacturing Equipment, which SolarWorld sees as a way to add the construction of production plants to its solar-value chain.

"We are the only company in the solar industry to integrate everything from the production line to the complete solar power station under one roof," noted Asbeck.

SolarWorld has been increasing its manufacturing capabilities in other regions, including the opening of an integrated solar wafer/solar cell fab in Hillsboro, OR, which will eventually ramp to 500-MW production capacity; an expansion of its Camarillo, CA, module assembly operation; and an ongoing buildout of its solar-wafer production at its Freiberg, Germany, headquarters site.

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