SEOUL, KOREA: LG Electronics (LG) recently announced the launch of a new business initiative with the unveiling of a solar cell production line in Gumi, about 200 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The production line will enable LG to manufacture approximately half a million solar modules a year with a total capacity of 120-megawatts (MW), the equivalent energy needs of 40,000 homes annually.
The line, which will produce silicon wafer-based crystalline solar cells, will begin production this month. A second line will follow in 2011 increasing total output to 240MW on LG’s investment of $220 billion.
“LG intention is to become a global player in the world’s solar industry through a combination of our mass production expertise and strict quality control system,” said Kwan-shik Cho, vice president of Solar Business Team at LG Electronics. “While we recognize this is a crowded playing field, LG has the necessary skills, know-how and business strategy to make this a prof-itable venture for the long-term.”
LG has been preparing to enter the solar business since 2004 as the company sees it as a key growth engine for the future. LG’s solar operation will be administered by the Air Conditioning (AC) Company, which has much experience in managing energy resources and developing envi-ronmentally responsible solutions for homes and businesses.
The solar market is estimated to be worth around $11 billion and the percentage of crystalline solar cells is expected to make up 80 percent of the market in 2010. Crystalline solar cells are comprised of silicon wafers, while competing thin-film solar cells use thin layers of materials containing electrodes. In July 2009, LG announced that the company had achieved the world’s most energy efficient (11.1 percent) in large-area (1.1 x 1.3 meter) thin-film solar cells.
“LG is at the top of the industry in terms of large-area solar cell efficiency. We are commencing production of crystalline solar cells and will continue to focus on both types of solar cells going forward,” said Cho.