SolarWorld Group to Build America’s Largest Solar Factory
Camarillo, March 1, 2007 - In Hillsboro, Oregon, SolarWorld AG will establish an integrated solar silicon wafer and solar cell production which will reach a capacity of 500 MW by the year 2009 which would become the largest solar factory on the American continent. At a price of only $40 million, the solar technology group succeeded in taking over the silicon wafer production of the Japanese Komatsu Group which had invested some $500 million (in these days 600 million EUR) at the Hillsboro location – in the immediate vicinity of the world's largest factory of the chip manufacturer Intel – but had never gone into production with the new facility due to a weak demand situation in the chip industry. The SolarWorld Group will further develop the new site with an investment of about $400 million. Oregon will support these investments with property and business energy tax credits. "This is a major step forward – not only for our environment, but also Oregon's economy," said Governor Kulongoski. "SolarWorld AG will become a major partner in our state’s move towards energy independence. I appreciate their commitment and dedication to achieving a clean energy future."
Following this acquisition the SolarWorld Group will shift its solar crystallization activities from Vancouver, WA, to Hillsboro and already start up production in the summer of 2007. In the first stage of the expansion capacities will be enhanced to 100 MW. At the same time the group will double the capacities of its specialized solar module factory at the Camarillo, CA production site to 100 MW.
SolarWorld production to exceed Gigawatt mark globally by 2010
"The new investment in Oregon constitutes an exceptional opportunity," explains Dipl.-Ing. Frank H. Asbeck, Chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG. "The take-over of such a high-tech production facility at a price of only $40 million is an excellent deal." With the new US production capacities the SolarWorld Group is substantially expanding its position as the leading provider and producer of solar power technology in the strongly growing US solar market. Together with the expansion of the silicon wafer production at Freiberg/Saxony to also 500 MW, the group will have a total global production in excess of one Gigawatt (1,000 Megawatt). "Now that we will soon have exceeded the threshold of 1,000 staff in Freiberg the group will also create a large number of new jobs at Hillsboro," announces Frank H. Asbeck.
Claim of technology leadership
In the new wafer and cell factory, the group will produce highly efficient, mono-crystalline solar silicon products thus expanding its technological spectrum. The products from the integrated production in Freiberg are primarily based on high efficiency multi-crystalline silicon. "The new US production will be designed in line with the latest results of our ongoing inter-group research work," explains Dipl.-Ing. Boris Klebensberger who is responsible for the US activities of the group as Board Member in charge of operations (COO) of SolarWorld AG. "In this process the technological know-how from the mono-crystalline technology taken over from the former Shell companies will be employed for the first time. With our new US production we are thus consistently living up to our claim of being the technology leader in this market."
About SolarWorld AG
SolarWorld AG manufactures solar power systems and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. The company, located in Bonn, employs approximately 2,500 people and carries out production in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro, USA. From raw material silicon to the solar module, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. Through an international distribution network, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world with solar modules and complete systems. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe, and has committed itself to resource- and energy-efficient production. SolarWorld has been publically traded on the stock market since 1999. More information at www.solarworld-usa.com.
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