Among other things, SCHOTT Solar will be doubling its wafer capacities at its German manufacturing site in Jena and, at the same time, expanding its international manufacturing network even further. The company will be founding a joint venture on setting up and running its own manufacturing of SCHOTT Solar modules in China together with Hareon Solar Technology Co., Ltd. By making this move, the company will be improving its ability to compete with the help of economies of scale and reducing its production costs in the growth market of 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 on the international markets,” added Ungeheuer.
The first phase of expansion for the joint venture that will be based in Taicang, located northeast of Shanghai, calls for an annual production capacity of 300 MW of SCHOTT Solar modules, whereby further expansion is planned. The company manufactures yet another 530 MW at its existing sites in the United States (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and in the Czech Republic (Valašské Meziříčí). SCHOTT Solar had already more than doubled its production capacities at this site over the last two years alone..
Focus on quality
Both parties are equally represented in the new joint venture. SCHOTT Solar is responsible for filling all of the important management positions that are essential to ensuring quality and reliability. This enables the company to achieve consistently high quality, irrespective of the manufacturing site. SCHOTT Solar underscores this claim 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.”
Investments in German sites In order to be able to improve its international competitiveness and extend its technological lead even further, SCHOTT Solar will also be investing in its German sites. The company will be doubling its capacity in the area of wafer production to a total output of 500 MW in the first half of 2011. This means the world’s most modern manufacturing facility for solar silicon wafers will be expanded even further. SCHOTT Solar will also be increasing the number of employees who work for the wafer division in Jena in the months to come. 125 million wafers will then come off the belts of the world’s most modern production lines for solar silicon wafers each year – in other words, four wafers every second. Solar cells are manufactured at the site in Alzenau. At the same time, SCHOTT Solar’s technical competence center on research and development is also based here.