Q-Cells smashes revenue and production targets

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Q-Cells AG has revised its production and revenue forecasts on the basis of greater levels of secured supply of key raw materials such as UMG Si, and continued strong demand worldwide with 90 percent of its production sold or agreed through the end of 2009. Q-Cells expects to reach a production volume of 585MWp in 2008, up from 570MWp previously guided earlier in the year. Sales are therefore set to rise from a previously projected €1.275 billion to €1.325 billion.

However, Q-Cells is now on target of more than 1GWp in 2009, indicating growth of approximately 70 percent over 2008. The sales forecast for 2009 has also been raised from its earlier revised guidance of €2 billion to €2.25 billion.

A key part of the increased production targets comes from the use of UMG silicon, which will make up approximately 30 percent of supply volumes in 2009 but will be greater than 50 percent in 2010.

Q-Cells’ order backlog is now running at 1932MWp, with additional potential orders of another 1367MWp, bringing the total to 2342MWp.

To meet this level of demand, Q-Cells is expanding production on fronts. The company is expanding production at its silicon solar wafer facilities in Thalheim, Germany, from 603MWp to 800MWp, with further expansions a possibility, noted Anton Milner, Q-Cells CEO, in a conference call with financial analysts. The 800MWp target is expected to be reached in mid-2009.

Major production expansion is also planned for its new facility in Malaysia, which will be ramped more aggressively than previously guided. Q-Cells said that it will integrate ingot production into its Malaysian manufacturing complex with an expected cell production capacity of 520MWp by the end of 2009.

Q-Cells said that they would have a production capacity of 1,320MWp in the core business by the end of 2009, a significant increase of its previous guidance.

On the thin-film side of the business, Q-Cells is now dedicating more attention to rapid production expansions after a successful start-up of production at Solibro in April and the expected first megawatt of capacity reached in August. Q-Cells will now expand the first production line at Solibro to 45MWp by mid-2009 and the construction of a 90MWp line 2 with an expected production start in Q4 2009. Solibro’s thin-film CIGS technology has recorded module efficiencies of between 9.5 and 11 percent, according to Milner. 
Its Santor micromorph technology division will have ramped its initial 25MWp production line by the end of 2008. A second expansion phase has been agreed of 120MWp, which will be operational in Q4 2009. Construction will begin at the end of 2008 and is double the previous capacity target.

Milner noted in the conference call that further capacity expansions in Malaysia could not be ruled out and operations would be starting earlier than expected in Mexico.


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