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Silicor Materials Building First Large-Scale Solar Silicon Plant In Grundartangi, Iceland

One of the largest low-cost manufacturers of high-quality solar silicon in the world, Silicor Materials, recently announced that it will soon begin construction of its first large-scale solar silicon production facility in Grundartangi, Iceland.

The development of the facility — which is being bankrolled by the Icelandic Arion Bank — will result in the creation of over 100 temporary construction jobs, as well as 400 permanent full-time positions.

Image Credit: Silicor

Image Credit: Silicor

Executives from the company have in recent days had a number of meetings with top brass in the country regarding the project, including the country’s President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. An incentives package is reportedly currently in the works.

“When we consider the potential sites for our first commercial-scale plant, Iceland is a leading candidate for a number of reasons,” stated Theresa Jester, CEO of Silicor Materials. “In addition to its world-class manufacturing and transportation infrastructure, the country provides low-cost renewable energy, enabling Silicor to produce the only truly ‘green’ silicon in the world. Further, Iceland ranks among the top aluminum producers worldwide, providing Silicor with a built-in market for its premium aluminum-based products. With the support of Arion Bank, we are well positioned to bring this venture to realization.”

The press release provides more:

The company’s Iceland facility will have a nameplate capacity of 16,000 metric tons, with the ability to yield up to 19,000 metric tons of solar silicon each year. Once all phases of the project are complete, the company will produce at a cash cost of $9/kg, with a roadmap for substantial further cost reductions. Silicor has already secured sales commitments and letters of intent with several leading global solar wafer, cell and module manufacturers, and expects to have the facility’s nameplate capacity sold out by the end of 2014.

Silicor’s solar silicon is produced specifically for the solar sector, as compared to conventional processes, which were originally produced for the electronics industry and later modified to serve the solar sector. Consequently, Silicor has developed the industry’s lowest-cost manufacturing process, while producing silicon to meet the exacting specifications of its customers.

Something else to note — Silicor’s production process, as compared to those of other companies in the industry, is relatively environmentally friendly. The process requires two-thirds less energy than conventional processes, and doesn’t make use of any “toxic chemicals” — as a result, manufacturing facilities can be sited in light industrial parks.

“Silicor offers a tremendous economic development opportunity to the Icelandic community, all without compromising its dedication to environmental stewardship,” said Gisli Gislason, Director for the Associated Icelandic Ports. “Simply put, this facility is a win-win opportunity for Iceland and Silicor.”

The current plan is for ground-breaking at the development site to occur sometime later this year, with the facility expected to come online in 2016.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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