SolarWorld AG will expand its production in Arnstadt, Germany, by manufacturing solar mono-crystals. In addition, the group will upgrade all of its solar cell production lines to manufacture highly efficient PERC cells. Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck, CEO of SolarWorld, made this announcement on the occasion of the first anniversary of SolarWorld Industries Thüringen in Arnstadt.
SolarWorld took over the German cell and module production from Bosch Solar Energy AG in March 2014. Today, production of solar cells and modules in Arnstadt is running at full capacity, and 830 jobs have been preserved in solar manufacturing. The addition of crystal production will create about 60 jobs.
Silicon mono-crystals are drawn from the liquid silicon melt, then cut into lengths, or ingots, for further processing into solar wafers and then cells and final assembly into modules. The annual production capacity of mono-crystals in Arnstadt is expected gradually to grow to about 500 MW, beginning in the second quarter of 2015. SolarWorld’s production site in Freiberg, Germany, will cut the silicon ingots into wafers.
In parallel, SolarWorld will expand the PERC technology (passivated emitter rear contact) of a pilot line in Arnstadt to the site’s entire cell production of 700 MW. As a result of new coating processes on cells’ fronts and backs, the PERC technology achieves much higher efficiencies.
In Hillsboro, Oregon, in the United States, SolarWorld already produces exclusively PERC cells. In Freiberg, cell production will be upgraded to PERC technology this year, too. In early 2015, SolarWorld achieved efficiency of 21.42%, setting a new world record for industrially manufactured monocrystalline PERC solar cells.
“Solar technology is about quality and maximum power efficiency,” said Asbeck. “With new crystal production in Arnstadt, we will extend the vertical range of our value chain. "
In Germany and the United States, SolarWorld has annual production capacity of well over 1GW, covering all major steps of the value chain. Accounting for higher, PERC efficiency, SolarWorld’s groupwide module capacity rises to 1.6 GW groupwide.