German Solar Branch Opens Second Solar PV Line

Shell Solar Deutschland GmbH opened a second photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturing line at its factory in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The new line will produce more than six million solar cells a year with a total power generation capacity of 15 MW, more than doubling the output of the factory. In total the factory will produce 25 MW per year, the equivalent of the power consumption of about 6000 West European households.

Gelsenkirchen, Germany – October 13, 2003 [] Shell Solar said their Gelsenkirchen factory is one of the most advanced PV cell manufacturing facilities in the world, citing that the new technology in the second cell line allows the production of thinner and more efficient solar cells with a larger surface area, enabling the cells to absorb more light. Another feature of this modern factory is the waste water treatment system which removes fluoride, that is used in the manufacturing process, from the waste water stream thereby removing a pollution hazard. Shell Solar’s total investment in the Gelsenkirchen factory, which opened four years ago, is now more than US$34 million. “Shell is determined to build a leading and profitable business in solar energy. To do that, we need constantly to improve the quality and reduce the cost of our products through technological innovation and increased efficiency,” said Karen de Segundo, Chief Executive Officer of Shell Renewables. “And we need to find new ways and new places to bring solar energy to consumers. The second manufacturing line at Gelsenkirchen is one of the most advanced in the world and is an important step in the development of this business.” The new cell line is completely automated and the company said it will produce multi crystalline cells with an efficiency of 15 percent. The first cell line produced cells with 13 percent efficiency. The increase in efficiency is due to new technologies that are able to produce both a textured surface by using a mixture of acids and by an advanced ‘passivating’ technology that allows the cell to make better use of the electrons which determine the power output. The new technology reduces the unit cost per watt-peak of the cells, said the company. Reducing costs is an important objective in order to allow solar power to compete more effectively with other sources of energy. Shell Solar markets its products in more than 90 countries and has a workforce of 1300. To date, Shell Solar has supplied solar cells and modules with a total peak capacity in excess of 300 MW. This corresponds to about one-fifth of the entire capacity installed worldwide. Shell Solar is part of Shell Renewables, a core business of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies.
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