SolarWorld AG has acquired a 29% stake in the newly founded joint venture Qatar Solar Technologies (QST), headquartered in the Emirate of Qatar. The Joint Venture will establish the first production facility for poly-silicon on the Arabian Peninsula. Partners are the Qatar Foundation (70%) and the Qatar Development Bank (1%).
Qatar Solar Technologies will invest a total of more than USD 500m in the construction of the new production facility with a planned annual capacity of around 3,600 tons of high-purity polysilicon in its first stage of expansion. Start of production is planned for the third quarter of 2012. At the Ras Laffan Industrial City location in the North East of Qatar the Joint Venture has access to an excellent chemicals infrastructure with favorable energy prices. Here a forward integration along the entire solar value chain all the way to the finished solar power module could be implemented. A change of thinking is taking place on the Arabian Peninsula from which a larger and larger market for solar power systems is developing.
Qatar is one of the world’s largest supplier countries for natural gas that has so far been securing its power supply on the basis of natural gas. „With the conversion of natural gas via electricity into solar-grade silicon the reach of the gas virtually increases by a factor of more than 25 for as long as our solar power modules generate, as guaranteed, clean energy from the sun” says Frank H. Asbeck, Chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG when signing the contract this Monday in Doha in the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al- Missned.
With the project SolarWorld AG is further securing its supply of solar-grade silicon in addition to the company’s own production, its own raw materials recycling activities and its long-term delivery contracts. The technology partner for the construction of the production line is the German company centrotherm photovoltaics AG with which SolarWorld AG has previously cooperated successfully in the development of its manufacturing facilities.