A new joint venture crystalline solar cell manufacturer has been
created with the announcement that Munich, Germany-based PV systems
manufacturer Centrosolar Group AG and Munich-headquartered Qimonda AG
plan to build and operate a 100MWp facility at Qimonda’s Vila do Conde,
Portugal semiconductor packaging plant. Qimonda is a major
semiconductor memory manufacturer.
Approximately €70 million is expected to be invested in the first phase of the joint venture project with Qimonda having a 51 percent stake and Centrosolar a 49 percent share.
“By entering the solar industry, we are addressing an attractive market with stable and high growth rates. We will leverage our core competencies in silicon-based, high-quality mass production to generate a new revenue stream for Qimonda,” said Kin Wah Loh, President and Chief Executive Officer of Qimonda AG. “Together with our experienced solar partner Centrosolar we have developed a capital and resource efficient setup to start this promising new business.”
Dr. Alexander Kirsch, Chairman of the Management Board of Centrosolar Group AG said: “Within the last years, Centrosolar has moved into a new dimension in regard to the size of the corporation and single projects. Therefore, it has become necessary to establish an own manufacturing brand for solar cells. With Qimonda as a partner, we are able to guarantee a competitive quality manufacturing of solar cells, which in the future will be produced inhouse and destined for our expanding module production sites in Germany and the Netherlands.”
The companies expect 70 percent of the financing to be provided by local banks, including additional funding packages provided by Portuguese state authorities in accordance with European funding regulations.
Qimonda is expected to utilize some of its semiconductor process technology knowledge in developing solar cells with efficiencies above 16 percent and will also leverage scrapped silicon wafers to obtain better wafer supply contracts, known as tolling.
The companies have secured 500 MWp of solar wafers over five years in a long-term supply deal with LDK Solar.
Construction at Qimonda’s site in Vila do Conde, Portugal is scheduled for mid-2008 and should be ready for equipment in early 2009. Initial production ramp is expected in the second half of 2009 with a capacity of up to 30 million solar cells per year (equivalent to about 100 MegaWatt peak), and will employ approximately 150 employees.