Silicon is the starting point of our solar production cycle. It is extracted from sand, which is primarily made up of silicon dioxide. As the second most common element in the earth's crust, there is an endless supply of silicon.
To ensure we have sufficient silicon for our ongoing operations, SolarWorld AG has long-term supply contracts and recycles intermediate and end products, in addition to our internal production.
SOLARWORLD INDUSTRIES SACHSEN GMBH ANALYSES METHODS FOR SILICON SUPPLY
Located in Freiberg, SolarWorld Industries Sachsen GmbH has assumed responsibility for the long-term strategic supply of silicon required by SolarWorld AG. The recycling of silicon products is supplemented by the development of new manufacturing technologies.
JOINT VENTURE WITH THE QATAR FOUNDATION
In 2010, SolarWorld AG formed a joint venture for silicon manufacturing: SolarWorld AG owns a 29% share of the newly formed joint venture, Qatar Solar Technologies (QST), which is headquartered in the State of Qatar.
The joint venture set up the first production site for polysilicon on the Arabian peninsula. The other partners are the Qatar Foundation (70%) and the Qatar Development Bank (1%). The project, originally designed for a nominal capacity of 3,600 tons/year, was expanded to 7,200 tons/year in 2011. The project will now be carried out in two steps consisting of 3,600 tons/year capacity each, referred to as Train 1 and Train 2.
The factory is due to commence operations in 2014. Pure silicon for photovoltaics will be produced at the Ras Laffan site using the Siemens process. In this process, impure metallurgic silicon is converted into gaseous trichlorosilane, which is purified by distillation and then isolated again as silicon in special reactors. The goal of this large cyclical material process is to produce solar silicon with a minimum loss of material and optimal energy efficiency.