Centrosolar Invests in PV Cell Production

A joint venture for the production of crystalline solar cells has been launched by co-investors Centrosolar Group AG and Qimonda AG. The production plant will be established near Porto in Portugal next to the existing semiconductor factory of Qimonda. The facility will have a capacity of approximately 100 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2009.

The sourcing of multi-crystalline silicon wafers has been secured for this first stage of the venture and the joint venture will invest around €70 million [US $108.15 million] until September 2009. This additonal source of crystalline solar cells covers 25%, around 50 MW, of Centrosolar’s annual module production capacity. After the ramp up phase, the solar cells will provide an electrical efficiency of more than 16%, Centrosolar says.

Silicon supply for the initial capacity has been secured with wafers from LDK and the venture company will receive a total of 540 MW solar wafers over five years. The agreement also allows LDK to receive scrap silicon material from Qimonda’s chip production operations. The prices are initially fixed for each year, but do incorporate a flexible component to reflect the general market price trend from 2011 onwards.

“This move is an innovative and the economically most promising way to develop our cell supply strategy. With Qimonda as our technology partner, the new manufacturing venture will be able to become a top tier solar cell manufacturer,” said Dr. Alexander Kirsch, Management Board Chairman of Centrosolar.