Silicon is the starting point of our solar production cycle. It is extracted from sand which is made up primarily of silicon dioxide. As the second most common element of the earth’s crust, there is an almost endless supply.
At the Freiberg/Saxony location, SolarWorld is working hard to step into the future. Since 2002, SolarWorld AG has operated a joint venture together with the Degussa chemical corporation called JSSi GmbH (original name: Joint Solar Silicon GmbH & Co. KG). The company developed a new technological process for manufacturing solar silicon cost-effectively in Rheinfelden: from silane. Silane is a gas made of silicon and hydrogen which is provided by Evonik Degussa GmbH. JSSi GmbH breaks down this gas into silicon in a new type of process.
The Deutsche Solar GmbH analyzes methods for silicon supply
Deutsche Solar GmbH has assumed responsibility for the long-term strategic supply of silicon needed by SolarWorld AG. They meet this goal by developing new production technologies such as, for example the Sunsil process.
Starting in the summer of 2010, the group will pre-process the Sunsil silicon powder for wafer production and refine it to granules at the Freiberg site.
Joint Venture with Qatar Foundation
SolarWorld AG formed another joint venture for silicon production in March 2010: SolarWorld AG has a 29% holding in the joint venture, Qatar Solar Technologies (QST) headquartered in the Emirate of Qatar.
The joint venture set up the first production site for polysilicon on the Arabian peninsula. The partners are the Qatar Foundation (70%) and the Qatar Development Bank (1%). At the end of 2013, 3,600 metric tons of polysilicon are to be produced in the new plant per year.