European solar manufacturers secure EU financial support


NorSun, a Norwegian wafer and ingot manufacturer, and Midsummer, a Swedish manufacturer of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film equipment and modules, are set to obtain €54 million ($60.1 million) and €32 million of respective grants from the EU Innovation Fund.

Norsun said it will use the funds to quadruple the capacity of its n-type mono wafer and ingot plant to 3 GW in Årdal, western Norway, powered by hydroelectric capacity. Wafer production is very energy-intensive and the use of hydropower significantly reduces the ecological footprint of PV modules. The Oslo-based company currently has a production capacity of 1 GW.

“The EU sees NorSun and Norway as a strategic resource to rebuild the European solar value chain and has therefore chosen to provide direct support to this industry in Norway. 3 GW of new capacity provides a quadrupling of current capacity,” the company said in a statement.

Norsun said it is aso preparing the technical and commercial details on a 5 GW plant in the United States, in addition to its Norwegian facility.

Midsummer said it will invest the funds in a 200 MW CIGS module plant near Stockholm. The company will deploy its own DUO production equipment at the facility.

“Midsummer makes the thin film deposition equipment ourselves, but back-end equipment like screenprinters, testers, sorters, tabbing and stringers, will be purchased from third party suppliers,” Sven Lindström, CEO, Midsummer, told pv magazine.

Midsummer, which specializes in building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) and rooftop modules, also has a 50 MW factory under construction in Italy. It raised about a third of the financing from national grants and low-interest loans.

“We expect to be ready to sign with EU by the end of the year. Locations in Sweden have been focused around the area of lake Mälaren,” Lindström said.

The EU Innovation Fund funded several other PV manufacturing expansion projects recently, such as the 3 GW project by Enel Green Power in Italy. Meyer Burger, the Swiss heterojunction cell and module manufacturer, also secured last week €200 million to support 3.5 GW of expansion projects, reported pv magazine. The funding agreements are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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