Shell Solar Expands PV Production in Portugal

Shell Solar has signed an agreement to expand module assembly capacity at Evora, Portugal. The Portuguese plant will become Shell Solar’s sole solar module assembly plant in Europe. The expansion agreement with AJ Lobo LDA, which is already exclusively contracted to assemble modules for Shell Solar, is the final stage of a program of restructuring to streamline Shell Solar’s moduling capacity.

Evora, Portugal – November 24, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Shell Solar has signed an agreement to expand module assembly capacity at Evora, Portugal. The Portuguese plant will become Shell Solar’s sole solar module assembly plant in Europe. The expansion agreement with AJ Lobo LDA, which is already exclusively contracted to assemble modules for Shell Solar, is the final stage of a program of restructuring to streamline Shell Solar’s moduling capacity. The agreement will increase the AJ Lobo plant’s assembly capacity to 17 MW per year. In addition to assembling mono crystalline modules, the plant will now also assemble multi crystalline modules. The AJ Lobo plant employs about 90 people. The component parts of the modules, photovoltaic (PV) cells, will be shipped to Portugal from Shell Solar’s manufacturing facilities in Gelsenkirchen in Germany and Camarillo in California. Shell Solar opened a second PV cell fabrication line at Gelsenkirchen last month, taking total capacity at that factory to 25 MW a year. The factory in Camarillo has a production capacity of 50 MW of PV cells and 30 MW of solar modules per year. “I welcome Shell Solar’s decision to increase its investment in the Portuguese solar energy industry,” said Portuguese Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. Carlos Tavares. “Solar energy has the potential to become an important source of energy for Portugal and I expect this plant to play a significant part in developing this sector of our economy.” The Portuguese government has set a target of 150 MW of PV cells installed in the country by 2010, and has put in place end-user feed-in subsidies of 51 eurocents (US$0.60) per kWh. This rate of subsidy equates to that put in place by the German government in 2000. “Cost reduction is the key to making Shell Solar more competitive, and indeed to making solar energy competitive against alternative energy sources,” said Shell Solar Executive Vice President Hans Willemsen. “Completing this restructuring is an important milestone in our drive to build a truly commercial solar business. Happily this process has also allowed us to increase our investment here in Portugal. This country is an important potential solar market and one in which the government demonstrates how close cooperation between industry and governments can turn solar energy into a sustainable economic reality.”
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