Ferroglobe to open solar grade silicon factory in Spain by the end of 2018

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U.K.-based Ferroglobe PLC, a provider of silicon metal and silicon- and manganese-based specialty alloys, which operates in the United States and Europe, has announced it will start production of solar grade silicon at its factory in Spain by the end of 2018.

The production, which is being run by the company’s Spanish subsidiary, FerroSolar S.L., will be located at the facilities of idled Spanish producer, Silicio Solar in Puertollano, in the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha. The company claims its manufacturing process is based on an innovative production system as an alternative to the traditional chemical transformation process to achieve the purity of silicon.

Meanwhile, Ferroglobe says it has tested 500 kW of its silicon wafers in cooperation with the consortium Silicon Module Super League (SMSL), which includes the seven of the top-tier manufacturers: GCL-Poly, Canadian Solar, JinkoSolar, Hanwha Q Cells, JA Solar, Trina Solar and Longi.

Ferroglobe said it tested a sample production of 130,000 wafers, and that these reached efficiencies of 18.5% and yield ratios of 98%. These results were confirmed, the company says, by Germany’s inspection and product certification services provider, TÜV Rheinland.

Ferroglobe adds it will conduct another important test in the upcoming weeks, where it will analyze 500 kW of PERC solar cells based on its own “black silicon”, in coordination with another unspecified Super League photovoltaic producer.

Ferroglobe is the result of a merger between Spain’s FerroAtlántica, part of the Grupo Vila Mar industrial conglomerate, and U.S.-based Globe Specialty Metals Inc.