Hevel partners with Kyrgyz monocrystalline wafer manufacturer Astra

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Russian PV module manufacturer Hevel Solar and Astra Solar, a Kyrgyzstan-based monocrystalline ingot and wafer producer, signed a partnership agreement on the sidelines of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Kyrgyzstan. The memorandum of understanding the two companies have signed is being supported by Vnesheconombank,  (VEB), according to Hevel. VEB is a state-owned development bank that finances projects aimed at developing the Russian economy.

The agreement sees both parties developing industrial and financial ties within the common economic space of the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation. They will jointly offer their solar products across the Russian and Kyrgyz markets, as well as to foreign markets.

The agreement also includes the possibility of creating an industrial cluster for materials needed in solar module production, Hevel said, without providing further details. “In the context of the dynamic growth of the solar energy industry, the creation of production chains of high-tech products in the territory of neighboring countries increases the competitiveness of products on foreign markets and provides ample opportunities for realizing the industrial potential of our countries,” said Igor Shakhray, general director of the Hevel group. “Due to Hevel’s plans to extend production capacity of solar cell and module manufacturing plant up to 300 MW we are interested in diversification of supply chain securing best price and quality for the final product,” he also said in a statement to pv magazine.

“For the implementation of Astra’s project aimed at scaling up production, it is possible to use VEB financial instruments, as well as to attract other financial institutions to finance,” said Nikolai Tsekhomsky, a member of Astra Solar’s board.

Astra Solar is a subsidiary of OJSC Kyrgyz Chemical-Metallurgical Plant, which produces thorium, zirconium, scandium and other rare earth metals. The company currently owns and operates a monocrystalline wafer factory in Orlovka, in Kyrgyzstan’s Chui region. The facility produces 210 mm Monocrystalline CZ wafers — n-type and p-type — using production equipment provided by Switzerland’s Meyer Burger. The factory, according to listcompany.org, has the capacity to produce 500 MT of monocrystalline silicon ingots and 3.6 million wafers per year.

Hevel Solar recently increased production capacity at its HTJ PV panel factory in Novocheboksarsk Russia, to 250 MW. The move followed an upgrade of its cell and module manufacturing equipment between November 2016 and February 2017. At the time, Meyer Burger also provided Hevel with PV production equipment for its HJT upgrade project. The new equipment allowed Hevel to finally convert its production line from silicon thin-film to heterojunction modules.