NorSun bags US$8.5 million to build 5GW US wafer plant

The company is one of the only European wafer manufacturers. Image: Unsplash

Norwegian solar wafer manufacturer NorSun has closed NOK90 million (US$8.5 million) in equity financing to support its expansion in Europe and the US.

The funding was led by Statkraft Ventures and Årdal Energi, who provided NOK40 million and NOK10 million each, with additional support from existing NorSun shareholders Nysnø Klimainvesteringer, Scatec Innovation and ABN AMRO Sustainable Impact Fund.

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Norsun said that it will be looking to finalise its plans for a 5GW US wafer manufacturing facility, which will be coordinated with assessments for possible expansion in the Årdal region of Norway, where its current plant is, and other European locations.  

It will also add a research ‘centre of excellence’ to its Årdal facility.

“Through this transaction, existing shareholders, new investors and the company’s creditors have made it possible for NorSun to utilise its position as the leading western wafer producer for further development and expansion, both in the US and Europe,” said John Andersen, Jr., chairman of NorSun.

A report from the European Solar PV Industry Alliance earlier this year said that its target of 30GW of European manufacturing by 2025 is feasible if the right legislative and policy conditions are met. However, as it stands, there is just 1.7GW of wafer manufacturing capacity in the continent according to SolarPower Europe, and NorSun is a significant portion of that.

The company signed a supply deal with Swiss solar manufacturer Meyer Burger in February, to supply it with European-made silicon wafers.

NorSun was part of a group of solar industry representatives who called for increased focus on upstream PV manufacturing in Europe this January. They called for more favourable financial moves, subsidies, low interest rates and credit guarantees to spur upstream production.

Erik Løkke-Øwre, CEO of Norsun said: “Together with existing and new shareholders, the management will implement an ambitious growth plan. In the first phase, we will secure binding sales contracts and financing as the foundation for an investment decision for the US plant which is expected at year end.”

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