Masdar breaks ground for photovoltaic plant in Germany

ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has laid the foundation stone for its first photovoltaic production plant in Germany which will also act as blueprint for technology transfer to a 140 MW plant to be built in Abu Dhabi. The development comes in less than three months of Masdar's announcement of strategic investment into thin-film photovoltaics, a major initiative supporting clean and green energy drive.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Fri 22 Aug 2008, 11:56 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:55 AM

Early this year, Abu Dhabi made headlines worldwide announcing plans to invest $15 billion in Masdar's renewable energy ambitions in a largest single government investment of its kind.

The plant in Ichtershausen Germany will use advanced production technologies to bring PV closer towards grid parity and enhance a local economy with a rich history of manufacturing and technology. The $230 million plant marks the first phase of Masdar's $2 billion investment in thin-film PV manufacturing - one of the largest investments ever made in solar. It will be opened in third quarter of 2009 and has a targeted annual production capacity of 70MW.

The photovoltaic plant will produce the world's largest 5.7 square metre and most powerful PV modules on equipment from the world's leading supplier Applied Materials to drive the cost reductions necessary to make solar energy an affordable reality.

As a leading global centre for PV technology, Germany was selected as Masdar's first PV plant location. The German plant will act as a blueprint for technology and knowledge transfer to a 140MW Abu Dhabi plant which will begin initial production by third quarter of 2010. According to sources, the foundations for Abu Dhabi plant would be laid within one year time.

Output from both facilities has already been committed to major PV system installers in Europe, and for Masdar's own energy generation needs.

'Thuringia is a modern business location,' said Dieter Althaus, Prime Minister of State of Thuringia. 'Within Germany we hold a leading position in modern environmental technologies especially in trendsetting solar energy.'

He said that Germany's technology base combines well with Masdar's vision to accelerate the development and adoption of clean energy solutions on a global basis. Masdar PV represents a significant advancement of German-UAE trade relations, particularly as it addresses a new area of cooperation in providing clean and sustainable energy solutions for both countries. The UAE is one of Germany's major trading partners in the Gulf region with non-oil trade currently worth nearly $7 billion.

In addition, it furthers Masdar's existing investment and research ties with German companies and organisations including Siemens, RWTH Aachen University and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). 'Abu Dhabi's geography and our vision to become a world leader in renewable energy, makes thin-film PV a natural area of focus for Masdar,' said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. 'Germany, with its technology, highly-skilled workforce, attractive investment climate, and direct access to the European market, make it an ideal partner for Masdar.'

'It is especially satisfying to be working together in bringing the world one step closer to a future of clean energy,' Al Jaber added.

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