• WACKER SCHOTT Solar will produce multicrystalline silicon wafers for solar cells • Investment of approx. €50 million initially creates 140 new jobs at the Jena site • New production facility expected to reach a capacity of 100 megawatts already by the end of 2008
SCHOTT and WACKER Lay the Cornerstone for New Solar Wafer Production Plant in Jena
• WACKER SCHOTT Solar will produce multicrystalline silicon wafers for solar cells
• Investment of approx. €50 million initially creates 140 new jobs at the Jena site
• New production facility expected to reach a capacity of 100 megawatts already by the end of 2008
Jena, October 29, 2007 - Today, the two German companies SCHOTT (Mainz) and Wacker Chemie AG (Munich) officially laid the cornerstone for a new silicon solar wafer manufacturing facility of their joint venture WACKER SCHOTT Solar GmbH in Jena, Germany. By April 2008, both partners will be completing stage one of their joint wafer production facility in Jena with total capital expenditures of approx. €50 million. This move will result in the initial creation of 140 new jobs at the site. Production capacity is estimated to reach around 100 megawatts (MW) per year already by the end of 2008. Wafer fabrication in the new facility will rely on conventional technology; thus individual wafers are sawed from multicrystalline silicon ingots. Manufacturing equipment will be installed in a two-story building with a floorspace of over 7,500m2.
Only a few weeks ago, SCHOTT Solar, a 100 percent subsidiary of SCHOTT, and Wacker Chemie AG set up two joint ventures to produce and market silicon wafers to the solar industry. Dr. Patrick Markschläger from SCHOTT and Axel Schmidt from WACKER are its managing directors. Over the next few years, SCHOTT and WACKER plan to invest a combined total of approx. €370 million at the sites in Jena (Thuringia) and Alzenau (Bavaria), thereby creating at least 700 new jobs. Solar wafer production is set to expand in stages, reaching about one gigawatt per year by 2012. This will make the joint venture one of the world's five largest manufacturers of solar wafers.
As Prof. Udo Ungeheuer, President and CEO of SCHOTT, explained at the cornerstone laying ceremony: "Our partnership with WACKER is of great importance to us. Given the current global scarcity of solar silicon, securing a reliable supply of this raw material is essential to SCHOTT Solar in order to achieve its ambitious growth targets in the photovoltaic sector. Together with our current and planned capacity expansions for solar cells and modules in Alzenau, as well as in the Czech Republic and in the United States, this joint venture will play a decisive role in strengthening the position of SCHOTT Solar as one of the world's leading manufacturers of photovoltaic solar energy components. Furthermore, the establishment of the WACKER SCHOTT Solar joint venture in Jena significantly strengthens this site."
During his speech, Dr. Peter-Alexander Wacker, President and CEO of Wacker Chemie AG, underscored the strategic importance of the joint venture for the Munich-based chemical group. "Forward integration into joint production of solar wafers with a strong partner is vital to our strategy of creating added value in the high-growth phototovoltaic sector. As the world's second-largest supplier of polycrystalline silicon and a leader in manufacturing silicon wafers for the semiconductor industry, we have optimum prerequisites for successfully establishing this new joint venture within the marketplace," he said.
WACKER will supply SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH with the hyperpure polycrystalline silicon needed to produce wafers. The major part of the joint venture's wafers will be used by SCHOTT Solar to make solar cells. At the same time, solar wafers will also be sold to other solar cell manufacturers in order to capitalize on growth opportunities and related economies of scale. To this end, SCHOTT and WACKER have established a separate sales joint venture, WACKER SCHOTT Solar Vertriebs GmbH.
SCHOTT and WACKER each hold a 50 percent equity stake in the production joint venture, SCHOTT WACKER Solar GmbH, while WACKER holds 51 and SCHOTT 49 percent in the sales joint venture. Besides the new wafer facility in Jena, the manufacturing joint venture also comprises the existing SCHOTT facilities for producing solar wafers in Alzenau, as well as those for producing multicrystalline silicon ingots in Jena.
At the SmartSolarFab® in Alzenau, wafers are manufactured using the advanced EFG process (Edge defined Film-fed Growth). This method differs from the conventional approach, where silicon wafers are sawn from an ingot. Instead, a silicon film in the form of an octagonal hollow tube is pulled directly from the silicon melt. A laser then cuts out the wafers.
SCHOTT is an international technology group that sees its core purpose as the lasting improvement of living and working conditions. For this purpose, special materials, components and systems are developed. The main areas of focus are the household appliances industry, optics and opto-electronics, pharmaceuticals and solar energy. The SCHOTT Group has a presence in proximity to its customers through its production and sales companies in all its major markets. It has approximately 16,800 employees producing worldwide sales of approximately 2.2 billion euros. The company's technological and economic expertise is closely linked with its social and ecological responsibility.
WACKER (www.wacker.com) is a globally active chemical company headquartered in Munich. With a wide range of state-of-the-art specialty products, WACKER is a leader in numerous industrial sectors. Its products are required in many high-growth end-user sectors such as photovoltaics, electronics, pharmaceuticals and household/personal care products. The Group's WACKER POLYSILICON business division is the world's second-largest producer of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries. In 2006, the WACKER Group posted sales of some €3.34 billion, of which approx. 80 percent is generated outside Germany. WACKER has about 14,700 employees at 22 production sites in Europe, the Americas and Asia and at some 100 sales offices worldwide. Wacker Chemie AG's shares (ISIN: DE000WCH8881) are listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
This press release contains forward-looking statements based on assumptions and estimates made by the executive boards of WACKER and SCHOTT. Although we assume the expectations in these forward-looking statements are realistic, we cannot guarantee they will prove to be correct. The assumptions may harbor risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual figures to differ considerably from the forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause such discrepancies include, among other things, changes in the economic and business environment, variations in exchange and interest rates, the introduction of competing products, lack of acceptance for new products or services, and changes in corporate strategy. Neither WACKER nor SCHOTT plan to update the forward-looking statements, nor assume the obligation to do so.