SolarWorld to Build 500-MW Solar Factory in Oregon

Oregon SolarWorld AG is beginning to establish an integrated solar silicon wafer and solar cell production which will reach a capacity of 500 MW by 2009, making the Hillsboro factory the largest solar factory on the American continent.

At a price of only 30 million EUR the solar technology group succeeded in taking over the silicon wafer production of the Japanese Komatsu Group which had invested some 600 million EUR at the Hillsboro location – in the immediate vicinity of the world’s largest factory of the chip manufacturer Intel – but had never gone into production with the new facility due to a weak demand situation in the chip industry. The SolarWorld Group will further develop the new site with an investment of 300 million EUR. The state of Oregon will support these investments with funds from its Anti-Global-Warming-Program.

Following this acquisition the SolarWorld Group will shift its solar crystallization activities from Vancouver to Hillsboro and already start up production in the summer of 2007. In the first stage of the expansion capacities will be enhanced to 100 MW. At the same time the group will double the capacities of its specialized solar module factory at the Camarillo/California production site to 100 MW. SolarWorld production to exceed Gigawatt mark globally by 2010 ‘The new investment in Oregon constitutes an exceptional opportunity’, explains Dipl.-Ing. Frank H. Asbeck, Chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG.

‘The take-over of such a high-tech production facility at a price of only 30 million EUR is an excellent deal’. With the new US production capacities the SolarWorld Group is substantially expanding its position as the leading provider and producer of solar power technology in the strongly growing US solar market. Together with the expansion of the silicon wafer production at Freiberg/Saxony to also 500 MW the group will have a total global production in excess of one Gigawatt (1,000 Megawatt). ‘Now that we will soon have exceeded the threshold of 1,000 staff in Freiberg the group will also create a large number of new jobs at Hillsboro’, announces Dipl.-Ing. Frank H. Asbeck, Chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG.

In the new wafer and cell factory the group will produce highly efficient, mono-crystalline solar silicon products thus expanding its technological spectrum. The products from the integrated production in Freiberg are primarily based on high efficiency multi-crystalline silicon. ‘The new US production will be designed in line with the latest results of our ongoing inter-group research work’, explains Dipl.-Ing. Boris Klebensberger who is responsible for the US activities of the group as Board Member in charge of operations (COO) of SolarWorld AG. ‘In this process the technological know-how from the mono-crystalline technology taken over from the former Shell companies will be employed for the first time. With our new US production we are thus consistently living up to our claim of being the technology leader in this market’.

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