Finnish solar manufacturer finally starts production in Vilnius


Covid-19 has caused plenty of disruption this year so perhaps it should come as no surprise to learn Finnish manufacturer Valoe was unable to achieve its ambition of restarting solar cell production in Vilnius by September, as the company's chief executive told pv magazine in May he hoped would be the case.

A brief announcement by Valoe yesterday confirmed cell manufacturing had restarted at the site after a drawn-out purchase of the facility from Lithuanian cell-maker Solitek which was first announced in February last year. At the time, pv magazine reported the manufacture of interdigitated back-contact (IBC) solar cells would resume at the 60 MW annual-capacity site in the second half of last year, with Valoe providing around €5 million for the deal, including the remaining €3.2 million purchase price.

Acquisition of the Solitek fab, from parent company, ophthalmic lens maker Global BOD, was eventually completed in May, thanks to a €2.5 million cash injection from the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation which is financed by the governments of Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden plus a €3 million credit facility from long time Valoe investor, UAE-based Winance Investment.

The IBC cell production equipment was installed, at a projected cost of €1.2 million announced by Valoe in May, after being purchased from defunct Italian solar manufacturer Megacell Srl.

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Valoe in May said it hoped to double the 60 MW manufacturing capacity of the Vilnius fab and yesterday's statement said: “The plant's production volumes will be increased in stages.”

The manufacturer said it expected to begin delivering cells to customers during the first three months of the new year.

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