With a billion solar wafers produced in Germany, the solar technology company SolarWorld AG looks back on a long history in the industry. The billionth wafer recently rolled off the SolarWorld line at the Freiberg site acquired in 2001 from Bayer. Further processed into solar cells, these silicon discs correspond to the performance of four nuclear power plants and cover an area of 3,700 soccer fields. The quantity of wafers now produced every day by SolarWorld is equivalent to the annual electricity requirement of 1,600 people.
“The record of one billion wafers is a milestone and underscores the performance of our highly-automated and modern production facility,” explains SolarWorld CEO Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck.
Solar technology has a long tradition in Germany. Solar wafers, thin silicon discs that today are about 0.2 mm thick, have been specially produced for the solar industry for over 20 years in Freiberg in Saxony. Solar wafers have only a positive pole and are therefore not yet electrically conductive. The cells are given a special coating for processing into electrically conductive solar cells. In a standard module, 60 solar cells are connected together and weather-proofed.
The production facility of SolarWorld AG is not only the oldest wafer production site in Europe, but also the largest outside of Asia. The highly-modern factory relies on efficient and particularly resource-friendly production processes. In recognition of this, it was the only production facility in the photovoltaic industry to receive both the bronze and silver CETPM Awards, and the Manufacturing Excellence Award.