California-based Silicor Materials Inc. has selected a site at the port of Grundartangi in Iceland for its first large-scale solar silicon production facility.
Silicor has engaged Iceland-based Arion Bank to lead the debt financing for the plant, which would create as many as 400 full-time jobs as well as up to 100 construction positions. Centra Corporate Finance was chosen to raise equity for the project.
Silicor'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 per year. Once all phases of the project are complete, the company says it will produce solar silicon at a cash cost of $9/kg, with a plan for further cost reductions.
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. Silicor says its approach results in a more cost-effective product. Also, Silicor says its manufacturing process requires two-thirds less energy than conventional processes and uses no toxic chemicals, allowing manufacturing facilities to be sited in light industrial parks.
Pending final negotiations with Iceland officials, Silicor aims to break ground later this year and accelerate construction to bring the plant online in 2016. Silicor says it has secured sales commitments and letters of intent with several solar wafer, cell and module manufacturers, and expects to have the facility's nameplate capacity sold out by the end of this year.
‘When we consider the potential sites for our first commercial-scale plant, Iceland is a leading candidate for a number of reasons,’ says 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 the venture to realization.’