After an extensive site selection process the decision was taken for Forst in the federal state of Brandenburg, Germany, because of the vicinity to a large portion of German solar module manufacturers, the great commitment of the municipality with its mayor J. Goldschmidt and the support by the federal state of Brandenburg with its federal agency “ZukunftsAgentur Brandenburg”.
The furnace will have a daily capacity of up to 500 tons, which equals an annual production capacity of around 15 – 18 million square meters. The furnace concept brings together innovative technologies for the first time: a so-called “dual-furnace” for the production of structured cast glass for conventional silicon modules and also float glass for thin film and solar thermal applications. Another world novelty is the operation of the furnace with an oxygen-gas mixture. This saves about 25% of energy and reduces the emissions by about 50%. Therefore, this furnace will produce solar glass in the most environmentally friendly way for the application in “green” products. Technology partners of SolarGlas AG are the expert engineering company DTEC in Gelsenkirchen as well as other well reputed German companies with huge experience in the glass industry. The oxygen supply as well as the special know-how for the burner technology is provided by Linde Group.
Süddeutsche Leasing GmbH in Ulm, which is specialised in finance leasing of large industrial production lines, backs the funding. SolarGlas AG invests more than 60 million Euro. This amount includes all up- and downstream production steps as well as already planned future additions. The investment creates about 120 new jobs in an otherwise economically underdeveloped area. First glass output is scheduled for June 2009. At the moment, first talks for long-term delivery contracts are being held and first deals are under preparation.