Joint Venture Partners Celebrate New Solar Manufacturing Plant. EverQ producing cost-effective solar products and more than 300 new jobs
Evergreen Solar today formally opened the new EverQ manufacturing facility in Thalheim, Germany. The news release announcing the event follows below and is attached. If you have questions please call:
RDW Group, Inc.
Joint Venture Partners Celebrate New Solar Manufacturing Plant
EverQ producing cost-effective solar products and more than 300 new jobs
Thalheim, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, June 20, 2006 - EverQ GmbH, a joint venture of three global leaders in the solar power industry, today marked the official opening of its first production facility in Thalheim, Germany. The ribbon-cutting celebration included the joint venture partners, German and U.S. government officials, solar industry leaders, and EverQ employees.
EverQ is a strategic partnership of Evergreen Solar, Inc. (United States), Q-Cells AG
(Germany), and Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (Norway). Evergreen Solar develops, manufactures and markets solar power products using its proprietary String Ribbon(tm) technology. Q-Cells is the world's largest independent manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar cells. Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (REC) is the world's largest manufacturer of solar-grade silicon and multicrystalline wafers.
"Vision, cooperation and speed - these are the key factors that moved the new Thalheim plant from idea to reality," said Rick Feldt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen Solar and Chairman of EverQ. "Despite differences in culture, language and location, the three partners share a singular vision for EverQ. This common drive to build the best organization possible has bred truly remarkable trust and cooperation - as evidenced by the speed with which this facility was planned and built."
Locally, the 70.5 million Euro EverQ facility has already evolved into an important economic engine in the area near Bitterfeld. To date, 260 workers are employed at the 16,400-square meter production facility - larger than the area of two soccer fields. The number of employees is expected to increase to more than 300 when the full production capacity of 30MW is achieved. The new Thalheim plant was supported by a 27.5 million Euro grant from the Federal Republic of Germany.
"Location was an important factor in our decision to develop the EverQ plant," said Anton Milner, Chief Executive Officer of Q-Cells AG. "We're now producing high-quality photovoltaic products in the country that is clearly the world's solar energy leader: Germany." Milner also pointed to highly-skilled local employees and strong government support for solar power as important factors in the siting decision.
"With the solar market expected to grow annually by 35% or more, the combined
resources and expertise of EverQ's joint venture partners makes the company well-positioned to meet the increasing global demand for high-quality solar products," said Erik Thorsen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Renewable Energy Corporation ASA. "Our commitment to efficiency and quality will advance solar technology and help to ultimately achieve competitive parity with retail electricity."
EverQ uses Evergreen Solar's unique String Ribbon wafer technology to ensure high
efficiency and quality control. String Ribbon requires nearly 50% less silicon than conventional sliced crystalline technologies. EverQ, which exclusively manufactures
Evergreen's powerful Spruce Line(tm) of photovoltaic (PV) panels, achieves further
operational efficiencies by producing solar wafers, cells and modules under one roof at its Thalheim plant.
EverQ is already planning a major expansion in Thalheim as a result of the recently announced execution of a binding memorandum of understanding with REC.
Groundbreaking for a second integrated wafer, cell and module manufacturing plant - with a capacity of 50MW - is expected later this year. With REC committing to supply a total of 7,400 metric tons of silicon over seven years beginning in 2008, EverQ plans to increase its current production capacity from 30MW to approximately 300MW by 2010 and possibly as early as the second half of 2009.
About Evergreen Solar, Inc.
Evergreen Solar, Inc., develops, manufactures and markets solar power products using proprietary, low-cost manufacturing technologies. The Company's patented crystalline silicon technology, known as String Ribbon, uses significantly less silicon than conventional approaches. Evergreen Solar's products provide reliable and environmentally clean electric power for residential and commercial applications globally. For more information about the Company, please visit www.evergreensolar.com.
About Q-Cells AG
Established in 1999, Q-Cells is one of the world's largest solar cell manufacturers in terms of production output and is the largest group-independent manufacturer of crystalline silicon cells. Its core business is the development, production and marketing of high-quality mono- and multicrystalline photovoltaic cells. Since commencing production in 2001, Q-Cells has grown rapidly and now employs more than 800 people at its site in Thalheim, Saxony-Anhalt. Q-Cells has constantly developed its product portfolio and the performance of its cells as well as its technological production processes. Furthermore, Q-Cells is developing additional important technologies through partnerships for the commercialization of these technologies. For more information about Q-Cells, please visit www.q-cells.com.
About Renewable Energy Corporation
Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (REC) was established in 1996 and has quickly become the world's leading integrated solar company. Today, REC is the world's largest producer of polysilicon and wafers for PV applications. REC is involved in all steps of the value chain, from production of solar grade silicon to wafer, cell and module production. The company has customers all over the globe and has seven production plants in three different countries. REC employs approximately 1,000 employees. For further information on the company, please refer to www.recgroup.com.
Director, Marketing Communications
Evergreen Solar, Inc.
Tel.: +1-508-357-2221 - Ext. 7214