Blaubeuren, April 27, 2011, A consortium consisting of centrotherm photovoltaics AG and Kinetics Germany GmbH signed an agreement this week with state utility Société Nationale de l'Electricité et du Gaz (Sonelgaz) to construct an almost fully integrated solar module factory in Algeria. This factory will impress by covering the entire solar value chain, ranging from ingot production and solar cell manufacturing through to solar module end-products, although it will not include the production of silicon as a raw material. The high degree of integration in the production of solar wafers, cells and modules allows low production costs to be achieved, thereby resulting in high-quality modules at competitive prices.
The order volume for the consortium consisting of centrotherm photovoltaics and Kinetics weighs in at around EUR 290 million, with the largest proportion of this amount being attributable to centrotherm photovoltaics, the solar specialists from Swabia in Germany. In line with centrotherm photovoltaics' company policy, the order will only be reported in the order book if certain internal criteria are satisfied, such as a pre-payment. As part of this turnkey project, centrotherm photovoltaics will deliver all of the photovoltaic systems on a turnkey basis, ranging from multi-crystalline ingot furnaces and ingot manufacturing through to module production, and it will provide support to Sonelgaz all the way through to system commissioning. Kinetics will be responsible for engineering services, construction management, the turnkey production of the building, and the technical fittings for the building.
The first high-performance modules should be produced by 2014 at the plant, which is to be constructed at Rouiba, 30 km east of the capital Algiers. These modules are primarily intended to supply the domestic market. The largest solar module factory in the African continent's second largest country will deliver an annual production capacity of around 116 megawatt peak (MWp) and is to be constructed on a land area of around 43,000 m² – which corresponds to the size of approximately six football fields.
"It gives us pleasure to be able to support Sonelgaz in this groundbreaking photovoltaic project. Our expertise as a photovoltaic technology leader, the lowest production costs per watt-peak, and our many years of experience in turnkey projects proved persuasive to our Algerian customers", commented Robert M. Hartung, CEO and Management Board Chairman of centrotherm photovoltaics AG. "Solar energy possesses great market potential particularly in very sunny countries such as Algeria, or in the Arabian region, because it is unrivalled in terms of cost compared with other energy sources."
With more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, Algeria is one of the countries with the highest solar radiation levels in the world. By way of comparison: annual levels of 1,500 hours of sunshine are regarded as average in Germany. According to information provided by Algerian sources, around 6 to 8 percent of electricity demand in Algeria is to be covered from renewable energy by 2020, and even as much as up to 35 percent by 2040.
Source: centrotherm photovoltaics AG