Two German companies, Schott Solar and Wacker Chemie AG, signed an agreement to set up two joint ventures to produce and market silicon wafers for solar applications. The companies plan to invest approximately $509 million into Schott Wacker Solar GmbH, which includes the creation of two new German facilities that will produce multicrystalline silicon ingots and wafers, the starting material for solar cells.
Wacker Chemie will supply the new joint venture with the hyperpure polycrystalline silicon it needs to produce wafers. The major part of the joint venture's wafers will be used by Schott Solar to make solar cells. Solar wafers, however, will also be sold to other solar cell producers in order to capitalize on growth opportunities and related scale effects, according to the companies.
The new partners will each hold a 50% equity stake in the production joint venture, while in the sales joint venture Wacker Chemie will hold 51% and Schott Solar 49%. The agreement requires German government and European Union approval before it can proceed.