Prime Solar to Produce Silicon Wafers in Germany

April 20, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Prime Solar Pty Ltd., a Perth based company will set up a manufacturing facility in Germany to produce 680 MW per annum of silicon wafers with an estimated project cost of €425 million. The facility will operate 24 hours a day and offer over 1,000 full time employment opportunities. Q-Cells AG will use the wafers to produce solar cells.

"The first phase of the project of 50 MW per annum capacity will be set up at Thalheim, Germany's "Solar Valley" approximately 50 km North of Leipzig in 2006-07 with a total project cost of €36.5 million", Mr John Carstairs, Chairman of Prime Solar said.

The German Government has welcomed the initiative of Prime Solar and will provide up to 45% non-refundable grants. Negotiations are being held with the Commerzbank for debt funding and working capital.

Prime Solar has recently entered into an agreement with Q-Cells to supply up to 100% of its wafer production for ten years. Q-Cells is the world's second largest manufacturer of mono and multicrystalline solar cells. In 2005, Q-Cells produced 165.7 MW of solar cells. This represents a 118% increase over the 75.9 MW solar cells manufactured the year before.

A total 81,000 m2 of land has been earmarked for Prime Solar at the Micro Technology Park at Thalheim just next to the manufacturing facility of Q-Cells. The land will be sufficient to accommodate all the expansion requirements of Prime Solar until 2014. The factory will be ultra-modern and will use the latest wafers manufacturing equipment with as much automation as possible to reduce the breakage of the wafers.