WACKER SCHOTT Solar presses ahead with solar-wafer capacity expansion
WACKER SCHOTT Solar GmbH, a joint venture between Wacker Chemie AG (Munich) and SCHOTT Solar AG (Mainz), announced at the solar industry conference “9. Forum Solarpraxis 2008” in Berlin to press ahead with expanding polycrystalline-silicon solar-wafer production capacity. Built in only six months, the new plant (in Jena, Thuringia) began production back in April. It is on target to reach a nominal annual capacity of 50 megawatts (MW) within the next few weeks, thus increasing WACKER SCHOTT Solar’s total annual capacity to 120 MW by year-end. So far, WACKER SCHOTT Solar has created 160 new jobs at its Jena site. Another 30 jobs were created at its Alzenau site in Bavaria. The company’s total workforce is currently some 350 strong. By the end of 2009, the number of employees is expected to rise to almost 500.
In August 2008, WACKER SCHOTT Solar also started construction work to expand its Jena site’s crystal-growing capacities. With excavation work now completed, construction of the new facility’s shell has already been started. This facility will grow multicrystalline silicon ingots, which are then sawn into solar wafers. The company also announced that it has begun initial work for a further wafer production facility at Jena. For this so-called “Fab Jena 3”, WACKER SCHOTT Solar has rented an existing building at SCHOTT AG’s premises in Jena. WACKER SCHOTT Solar’s intends to boost its annual capacity to 275 MW by late 2009 and to one gigawatt by 2012.
“Rapid expansion of production capacities is vital for our ability to meet huge demand from our photovoltaic customers,” stressed Dr. Patrick Markschläger and Axel Schmidt, WACKER SCHOTT Solar’s two managing directors. “We’ve already sold most of our production capacity to specific customers via long-term contracts, most of which run until 2017.”
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