RUSSIA: The Supervisory Council of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, (RUSNANO, has approved the corporation’s participation in a project to produce solar modules using thin-film technology.
RUSNANO CEO Anatoly Chubais commented on the project: “We are talking about creating the largest base in Russia for the production of solar batteries. This is the most significant investment in alternative energy on the territory of the Russian Federation.”
A new company is to be established under the project at Khimprom’s industrial park in the city of Novocheboksarsk in the Chuvash Republic. The company will realize the entire cycle of production for solar modules. Its planned capacity is to be one million solar modules per year, the equivalent of 120 MW per year.
The core participants in the project are RUSNANO and RENOVA Group. Total investment in the project is 20.1 billion rubles. RUSNANO will contribute 3.7 billion rubles to the equity of the new company. In addition, the corporation will offer the project company a loan of 9.8 billion rubles. RUSNANO will hold a 49 percent equity share in the project company. RENOVA will own a 51 percent stake and will be responsible for development of the business.
The project is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2009 and reach the planned capacity in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company revenue in 2015 is estimated at 10.3 billion rubles.
RUSNANO CEO Anatoly Chubais noted: “A part of the project, the establishment of a major research center, whose expenses for equipment alone will equal one billion rubles, lends it a particular significance.” The center will work on increasing the effectiveness of the solar modules in cooperation with the Ioffe Physical Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The production of solar modules will involve the latest cutting-edge thin-film technologies developed worldwide. The technology of micromorph silicon thin-film solar modules developed by Swiss company Oerlikon Solar, a world’s leader in the solar energy market, is planned to be used as a basic technique.
“Establishing production of solar batteries is in line with one of the strategic goals of RUSNANO –- to implement cluster projects that result in the creation of nanotechnology products, interrelated by manufacturing method or by sequence in the processing chain. Such projects create the backbone for formation of an innovative sector in the Russian economy,” said Chubais.
Earlier, the Supervisory Council of RUSNANO had approved the Corporation’s participation in a project to establish Russia’s first large-scale complex for production of polycrystalline silicon and monosilane, which are raw materials for the manufacture of solar batteries.
Additionally, the solar battery project will stimulate ancillary production within the territory of the Russian Federation, in particular the production of especially pure technical gases and special-purpose glass.
“This undertaking will not only become the starting point for creating a new industry in Russia’s economy -– solar energy –- but also stimulate the development of a number of related economic sectors,” noted Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of RENOVA Group Viktor Vekselberg.
The market for solar energy has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years. According to data from US-based research company Lux Research, in 2008 the market reached $33.3 billion, or around 5 GW. In monetary terms the market has increased more than 11-fold since 2001.
The market for silicon thin-film solar modules in 2008 was valued at 0.6 GW, but by 2012 it is expected to grow to 2.4 GW, which, in monetary terms, is growth from $3.8 billion to $8.6 billion.
Markets in countries in Southern Europe -– Italy, Spain, and Greece -– and Germany are primary targets for the sale of products. Avelar Energy Group (part of the RENOVA Group), which installs and adjusts solar modules in Europe, will handles product sales. In the long term, up to 15 percent of the solar modules are to be directed toward the Russian market.