WACKER SCHOTT Solar GmbH, a joint venture of Wacker Chemie AG and SCHOTT Solar GmbH, has officially commissioned a new factory in Jena, Thuringia, Germany, for the production of silicon wafers for the solar industry. After six months of construction, WACKER SCHOTT Solar has commenced wafer production and plans to ramp up the factory’s annual capacity to 50 MW by the fall of 2008. This will increase WACKER SCHOTT Solar’s total annual capacity to 120 MW by year’s end. The two partners have invested €50 million (~ $79 million) in the new production plant, creating initially 140 new jobs at the Jena site.
Patrick Markschläger, Ph.D., and Axel Schmidt, the two managing directors of WACKER SCHOTT Solar, were more than pleased about the new factory’s rapid completion: “We built it in record time and are now ramping up solar wafer production as planned. The new production plant’s commissioning is an important milestone for WACKER SCHOTT Solar’s business success. It is crucial to our ability to expand production capacity in line with the strong demand of our photovoltaics customers.”
The new Jena factory relies on time-tested technology that involves sawing individual wafers from multicrystalline silicon ingots. The two-story building features 7560 square meters of floor space for manufacturing equipment, and it has one of the Thuringia region’s largest photovoltaic arrays installed on its roof. SCHOTT Solar manufactured and delivered the solar modules for this 82 kW array, which is operated by PV Meins KG (a partnership that includes many WACKER SCHOTT Solar employees).
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