During a ceremony held Monday to sign a memorandum of understanding, officials of California-based Sphere Renewable Energy Corp. (SREC) said the company will develop a wholly owned solar materials manufacturing subsidiary, Buckeye Silicon (BeSi), in Toledo, OH. The venture’s initial polycrystalline-silicon production module will be located at the University of Toledo’s Center for Renewable Energy.
The poly made by BeSi will be sold predominantly to PV producers in North America and Europe, according to SREC, which recently has entered into a joint venture with strategic East Asian investors to begin using its proprietary process to mass-produce crystalline silicon for the solar market.
SREC said its approach involves a light industrial, modular process which requires much less space and energy than a traditional polycrystalline-silicon production facility and that its development is more efficient. The commonly used approach has involved massive chemical infrastructure facilitation, similar to an oil refinery, with many of the related concerns that refineries experience. The company claims that its process does not have the environmental problems that other polycrystalline silicon manufacturer’s experience.
The financial terms of the deal, the timelines for the construction and production ramp, technical details of the manufacturing process, and the projected manufacturing capacity of the new facility were not disclosed.