SCHOTT Solar Announces Plans to Significantly Expand Global Capacity

January 26, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

SCHOTT Solar announced that it will boost its global photovoltaic module production capacity to more than 800MW in 2011. In order to improve economies of scale and better supply new growth markets, SCHOTT Solar will invest in the expansion of wafer capacity at its German manufacturing sites and expand its global module manufacturing network via a joint venture with Hareon Solar Technology Co., Ltd. in China.

"Asia will become one of the largest growth regions for photovoltaics. The Chinese government has recognized the strategic importance of renewable energy and is strongly committed to this future industry. For this reason, we are taking advantage of the good condition that the market is in right now to strategically expand our manufacturing in the region and internationalize our solar business even further," said Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Board of Management of SCHOTT AG. "SCHOTT has been manufacturing in East Asia already for many years. This has enabled us to secure jobs and sites in Germany over the long term and remain competitive in international markets."

"These investments strongly position SCHOTT Solar globally and in the United States. The expansion enables SCHOTT Solar to better serve the rapidly growing U.S. market and also meet growing demands in the international markets. We will continue to provide our U.S. customers with high-quality, domestically produced solar panels and continue to support U.S. jobs at our Albuquerque facility," said Tom Hecht, President and Chief Sales Officer of SCHOTT Solar PV, Inc.

The first phase of the joint venture will add an additional 300 MW of SCHOTT Solar module manufacturing capacity to SCHOTT Solar’s existing 500 MW of capacity at its sites in the United States (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and in the Czech Republic.

Both parties are equally represented in the new joint venture. SCHOTT Solar is responsible for filling all of the critical management positions related to ensuring quality and reliability. This enables the company to achieve consistent high quality, irrespective of the manufacturing site. SCHOTT Solar will further support this goal with a special center on quality assurance located in China.

"Our plans for manufacturing call for us to manufacture solar modules solely for SCHOTT Solar. Here, we will make our own decisions on the raw materials and components we purchase. Furthermore, the entire production and final inspection processes will be based on our standards for quality. Our employees on site will make sure that our quality process is enforced directly on the production line," explained Dr. Martin Heming, CEO of SCHOTT Solar AG, who then added: "Our joint venture partner Hareon Solar is an established manufacturer with many years of experience in manufacturing PV components along the entire value creation chain. Production is characterized by a consistently higher level of automation and mechanization than is typically seen in PV manufacturing in China."

President and CEO of Hareon Solar Mr. Samuel Yang said on the founding of the new venture: "We are pleased to partner with such a strong global brand as SCHOTT Solar, renowned for their innovation and technical prowess and long standing commitment to the PV industry."