Thalheim, Germany [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for their new 30 MW solar wafer, cell and module manufacturing plant in Thalheim, Germany. The plant is being constructed by EverQ, a recently formed strategic partnership between Evergreen Solar and Thalheim-based Q-Cells AG, the world’s largest independent manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar cells.“This groundbreaking is a significant milestone for our strategic partnership,” said Richard M. Feldt, president and chief executive officer of Evergreen Solar. “Having successfully completed the design and engineering phase, we can now commence construction on EverQ’s state-of-the-art facility. We believe that this facility, when fully ramped to capacity, can become a model for the solar power industry.” Feldt added that they have secured contracts for their anticipated silicon needs for both Evergreen and EverQ for the next 18 months. Production is expected to begin during the second quarter of 2006. The German government is providing EverQ with grants totaling approximately $34 million at current exchange rates to offset the manufacturing facility construction costs. The cost of the 30 megawatt factory is expected to be $75 million. At 30 megawatts, the plant is expected to create between 350 and 400 new jobs in Thalheim, which is located approximately 80 miles from Berlin. Based on the initial success of the facility, Evergreen Solar and Q-Cells will evaluate the possibility of expanding the facility from 30 megawatts up to 120 megawatts of capacity.