An agreement to jointly fund a feasibility study for the establishment of a vertically integrated solar PV (photovoltaic) manufacturing complex at Wa’ad Al Shammal in Saudi Arabia has been signed. SunEdison, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabian Investment Company hope to move forward with a project to produce polysilicon through modules. The feasbility study is the next step in the process following a preliminary study between the National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) and SunEdison in 2013.
“We anticipate substantial growth of solar PV within the Kingdom and the region. This project will support that growth, and the growth aspirations of SunEdison and our Saudi partners,” said Ahmad Chatila, CEO of SunEdison. “The combination of SunEdison technology, and the Kingdom’s world-class manufacturing and energy sector expertise will enable us to capitalize on substantial growth in the Kingdom and the region, and maximize the value of solar PV projects supported by this venture.”
If developed, the complex would utilize both SunEdison’s proprietary high pressure silane fluidized bed reactor (HP-FBR) polysilicon, and continuous Czochralski (CCz) crystal ingot technology and equipment, as well as include solar wafer, cell and module manufacturing, employ attractive debt financing for the approximately $6.4B project, and would begin production in 2017, ramping to 3 GW (gigawatts) annually.
A significant percentage of polysilicon and ingot production would support the 3 GW planned module output. Should the project go forward, the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals said it will provide the required quantities of natural gas, and the Saudi Electrical Company (SEC) committed to providing the needed power requirements for the project.
“This project will be capable of building a complete industrial eco-system that is sustainable and able to compete on a global level by utilizing pioneering technology developed by SunEdison to produce high purity polysilicon, and high-efficiency, low-cost mono-crystalline ingots, in addition to benefiting from economies of scale given the size and vertically integrated nature of the complex,” said Eng. Azzam Shalabi, President of NICDP.
Chatila added, “We will bring our downstream solar PV development expertise to the region, and will partner with the Kingdom to build a large and dynamic solar energy industry. This agreement represents our ongoing strategy to accelerate our growth, maximize the value of our PV projects, and strengthen our balance sheet to enable both. We are very proud to take this next step with our Saudi partners as the Kingdom becomes a world leader in solar energy.”