May 5, 2008 – Qimonda AG is diversifying into the photovoltaics sector through a new majority-owned JV with German solar company Centrosolar Group to build, equip, and operate a solar cell manufacturing plant in Portugal.
Under terms of the partnership, subsidiary Qimonda Solar will own 51% of the as-yet-unnamed JV, with Qimonda contributing its know-how in silicon-based mass production, as well as access to silicon supplies (the JV has already signed a supply deal with China’s LDK Solar). Centrosolar will offer solar systems expertise and sales/distribution of the solar modules.
The JV will be located at the same site as Qimonda’s facilities in Vila do Conde, Portugal, with a startup investment of €70M (US ~$108M). Fab construction is planned for mid-2008 with equipment move-in projected by early 2009, and production starting in 2H09 with initial capacity of ~100 MW peak (30M solar cells/year).
Kin Wah Loh, president/CEO of Qimonda, said in a statement that the expansion into the solar industry is a move to add a business with stable, high growth rates, and leverages Qimonda’s “core competencies” to generate a new revenue stream.
Centrosolar chairman Alexander Kirsch added that his company’s “new dimension” of increased size and projects means it has to establish is own manufacturing brand for solar cells. “With Qimonda as a partner, we are able to guarantee a competitive quality manufacturing of solar cells,” which will be produced in-house for use in the firm’s module production sites in Germany and the Netherlands, he stated.