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ScanWafer to set up shop at Porsgrunn

November 21, 2001, 00:00 CET

ScanWafer and Hydro have signed a letter of intent under which ScanWafer will establish a plant in the Porsgrunn Business Park to make silicon wafers for solar-energy panels.

The new plant, which will employ around 85 people, will be the third plant built by ScanWafer. Its employees will be recruited from among those made redundant following the closure of Norsk Hydro's magnesium plant. The agreement is subject to the approval of ScanWafer's board.

ScanWafer's general manager Kjell Sundsli and Per Wold, vice president of Hydro Porsgrunn Industrial Park (HPI), say they are both very satisfied with the agreement.

For ScanWafer, the Herøya plant will mean proximity to a large-scale industrial environment, good access to process industry and research expertise, a sound infrastructure and an excellent export location. For Hydro Porsgrunn Industrial Park, the new plant represents the creation of new jobs in a growth industry of the future.

ScanWafer currently has two plants in Glomfjord, Norway, and the new Herøya plant will approximately double the company's production capacity. The agreement secures a 30,000 square meter plot of land for ScanWafer, with the option of buying an additional 30,000 square meters later.

Plant construction is planned to start in the first quarter of 2002, with production to begin in the first half of 2003. Employees for the plant will be recruited once the ScanWafer board resolution has been passed.

Porsgrunn municipality and labor authorities are both playing important roles in finalizing the establishment of the new Herøya plant. The municipality is injecting NOK 10 million (€1.3 million) towards developing the industrial site for new ventures, while labor authorities are ready to subsidize the re-training of ScanWafer's new employees.

Facts about ScanWafer

  • ScanWafer ASA produces silicon wafers, the major component in solar cell panels which convert sunlight into electricity.
  • ScanWafer's two plants are both situated in Glomfjord, where Hydro Agri previously produced ammonia. Production started up in 1997, and the first plant has a production capacity for solar cells equivalent to 10 MW of electricity. The second plant, with considerably more modern technology, has a production capacity of approx. 40 MW. This plant was opened by the former Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister, Grete Knudsen, on 29 August this year.
  • The market for wafers is growing and ScanWafer exports its entire production. Demand for solar cell products is greatest in Japan, closely followed by the US and several European countries. Demand growth is expected in developing countries, where lack of infrastructure means that large geographical areas are without electricity.
  • Sales volume for ScanWafer in 2000 was NOK 78.1 million, while sales for the first nine months of 2001 amounted to NOK 88.3 million.
  • The company currently employs 108 people.