RUSNANO planning big solar push

Russia’s RUSNANO group has approved a 20B ruble (about $630M) project to produce up to 120MW/year of solar modules for batteries

May 28, 2009 – Russia’s RUSNANO group has approved a 20B ruble (about $630M) project to produce up to 120MW/year of solar modules for batteries, in what RUSNANO CEO Anatoly Chubais called
“the most significant investment in alternative energy on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

The project involves establishing a new company in the Khimpromos industrial park in Novocheboksarsk in the Chuvash Republic, working with the Renova Group and the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Renova will own 51% of the venture and develop the business; RUSNANO will own 49% of the venture, contribute 3.7B rubles (roughly $116M) in equity plus a 9.8B ruble ($308M) loan. Phase one will start in 3Q09, reaching planned capacity of 120MW/year (about 1M solar panels) by 4Q11.

Manufacturing will be based on Oerlikon’s micromorph thin-film technology; Chubais noted that equipment spending would top 1B rubles ($31M). Reuters reported that Oerlikon was in talks with RUSNANO for a potential deal worth 700M Swiss francs (about $640M). Avelar Energy Group (part of the Renova Group), which installs and adjusts solar modules in Europe, will handle product sales, targeting 10.3B rubles ($324M) by 2015. Up to 15% of the venture’s solar modules are expected to be earmarked for domestic use.

“Establishing production of solar batteries is in line with one of the strategic goals of RUSNANO — to implement cluster projects that result in the creation of nanotechnology products, interrelated by manufacturing method or by sequence in the processing chain,” noted Chubais. “Such projects create the backbone for formation of an innovative sector in the Russian economy.”

“This undertaking will not only become the starting point for creating a new industry in Russia’s economy — solar energy — but also stimulate the development of a number of related economic sectors,” added Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of RENOVA Group Viktor Vekselberg.

Back in February RUSNANO approved participation in a project led by Nitol to establish Russia’s first large-scale complex for producing polysilicon and monosilane, with output beginning by year’s end.

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