PV Crystalox Solar PLC has posted silicon products revenue of €273.8 million for 2008, an increase of 28.6% compared to the previous year. Wafer shipment volumes increased by 21% to 230MW, inline with upgraded guidance given last year. Wafer shipments were 190MW in 2007. However, PV Crystalox revised its production targets for polysilicon at its new plant in Bitterfeld, Germany, from 900MT for 2009 to 450MT.
The company said that production would start at the new plant in May, 2009 and the revised production levels were inline with current wafer production requirements. PV Crystalox noted that its production target for 2011 remains at 1,800MT.
Ingot production was said to be expanding as planned to 350MW by mid-2009 with expansion of wafering capacity that included the use of a subcontractor in Japan.
PV Crystalox noted that newly contracted wafer volume is equivalent to 900MW over the period 2009-2011 and complemented wafer supply agreements signed in 2007. PV Crystalox also noted that it had signed seven new wafer supply agreements in the year with predetermined prices and volumes. Customers include Q Cells, Suntech, Schott Solar and the Intel spin off, SpectraWatt. Wafer shipments of 275MW are expected in 2009, with the majority of the 45MW increase occurring in the second-half of the year.
However, PV Crystalox was cautious about business growth in 2009.
‘Group wafer shipments and prices remained strong both at the end of 2008 and in the first two months of the year. While revenues for first quarter are expected to be above those achieved in the same period in 2008, visibility for second quarter and beyond is limited by the difficult market conditions experienced by our customers. Market weakness has become evident during recent weeks and we are now working with a few of our customers to assist in these uncertain times by rescheduling deliveries. However, the net effect of the rescheduling is modest to date and is equivalent to less than 10MW in the first quarter,’ the company said ina statement.
Cost reduction plans were also on track. PV Crystalox said that 65% of shipped wafers in 2008 were 180µm thickness, reaching 82% of shipments in the first two months of 2009.
Wire thickness had been reduced from 140/150µm to 120µm with new ingot saws cutting kerf loss by more than 90% in comparison with the sawing equipment used previously.