Masdar Breaks Ground On Photovoltaic Factory In Germany

August 21, 2008 by Jeff Shepard

Less than three months after announcing a strategic investment into thin-film photovoltaics, Masdar, an Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based renewable energy company, broke ground on its first photovoltaic production plant in Ichtershausen, Germany. The company states that the plant will use advanced production technologies to bring PV closer towards grid parity, and enhance a local economy with a rich history of manufacturing and technology.

The $230 million (€150 million) German plant marks the first phase of Masdar’s $2 billion (€1.3 billion) investment in thin-film PV manufacturing, which it claims is one of the largest investments ever made in solar. To be opened in Q3 2009, the plant has a targeted annual production capacity of 70MW, and will create more than 180 jobs. The company claims that it will produce the world’s largest (5.7 m2) and most powerful PV modules, on equipment from leading supplier Applied Materials, to drive the cost reductions necessary to make solar energy an affordable reality.

The German plant will act as a blueprint for technology and knowledge transfer to a 140MW Abu Dhabi plant, which will begin initial production by Q3 2010. Output from both facilities has already been committed to major PV system installers in Europe, and for Masdar’s own energy generation needs.

"Abu Dhabi’s geography and our vision to become a world leader in renewable energy, makes thin-film PV a natural area of focus for Masdar," said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. "Germany, with its technology, highly-skilled workforce, attractive investment climate, and direct access to the European market, make it an ideal partner for Masdar. It is especially satisfying to be working together in bringing the world one step closer to a future of clean energy."