- CENTROSOLAR taking up 49 % stake in a 100 MWp solar cell plant in Portugal
- Silicon supply fully secured
- CENTROSOLAR covers 25% of its total module manufacturing capacity with this cell supply
- Flexible multi sourcing strategy maintained
- Assured supply of solar cells enables accelerated growth of CENTROSOLAR
Brilon, May 5, 2008. CENTROSOLAR Group AG, Munich, in which CENTROTEC Sustainable AG has a 33.6 % interest, is to establish a solar cell production plant in Portugal in conjunction with the Munich-based semiconductor expert Qimonda AG. The new plant for crystalline silicon solar cells with an annual production capacity of 100 MWp is to be in the vicinity of Qimonda’s silicon memory chip plant in Porto exploiting synergies between the two plants at a personnel, technological and production technology level. Qimonda AG, being the former semiconductor branch of Siemens and Infineon respectively, employs more than 1,000 scientists and engineers in its R&D departments and thus possesses in-depths expertise in silicon technology as well as many years of experience and business relations in sourcing of silicon. Around 70 % of the total investment of EUR 70 million until September 2009 is being financed through loans from local banks. An application has in addition been submitted to the Portuguese government for an attractive, EU-compliant package of subsidies. In addition, CENTROSOLAR will issue a capital increase for cash amounting to 10 % of the share capital, which is guaranteed by a major shareholder of CENTROSOLAR.
This strategic investment of CENTROSOLAR and Qimonda represents the first step in a long-term cooperation, which foresees further expansion in the coming years. Based on a high standard of cell efficiency (electrical efficiency above 16%) and production cost benefits for the new plant a leading global solar cell manufacturer will be formed.
Supplies of polycrystalline silicon wafers, the key starting material for cell production, have been secured on the basis of an agreement with the renowned Chinese wafer manufacturer LDK Solar Co. Ltd whose customers include well-known solar cell manufacturers as the German Q-Cells AG. The 5-year agreement is for a total volume of supplies of 500 MWp with the deal including returning scrap silicon material from Qimonda’s semiconductor production operations to LDK as part of the compensation.
The investment covers one-quarter (approx. 50 MWp) of demand from CENTROSOLAR’s solar module plants (195 MWp annual capacity in 2010) at much more favourable terms than comparable long-term contracts from cell manufacturers. Meanwhile CENTROSOLAR will adhere to its existing flexible supply strategy for solar cells, which envisages several supply sources. The cells made in Portugal are to cover mainly the additional demand from the booming business area of roof systems for large industrial properties.
The new sales area of large-scale systems for industrial properties, the successful implementation of the international expansion campaign and the position as sole operator in various areas of solar key components – and nanocoated solar glass in particular – have provided a resounding endorsement of CENTROSOLAR’s growth strategy and prompted a marked rise in turnover and earnings in the first quarter of 2008 (revenues of approx. EUR 66 million (+ 86 % vs. previous year), EBITDA of approx. EUR 5.5 - 6 million (+ approx. 175%)). In investing in a modern solar cell production plant together with the partner Qimonda, CENTROSOLAR is able to safeguard its supply of solar cells as the basis for continuing profitable growth. CENTROTEC supports this strategic move, which both takes the company’s growth into a new dimension and boosts value added, thus enabling the parent company to participate in the high profit potential of solar cell production. CENTROTEC expects that the venture will not only prompt an appreciation in the value of its 33.6% interest, but will also safeguard long-term the supply of highly efficient solar products for sale via CENTROTEC companies.