Ferrosolar to open UMG silicon plant, claims 18.5% cell efficiency

Multicrystalline silicon block from upgraded metallurgical-grade (UMG) silicon made by Silicio Ferrosolar
Ferrosolar is aiming to start up a 1,400 MT factory for its upgraded metallurgical-grade silicon by the end of 2018 – Image: Ferroglobe

Ferroglobe, one of the world’s leading producers of silicon metal and silicon-based alloys, has announced that its subsidiary Ferrosolar is currently building a factory for upgraded metallurgical-grade (UMG) silicon in Puertollano in Spain.

In a press release, the company has confirmed earlier plans that the new factory will be operational by the end of 2018. However, Ferroglobe does not mention the annual capacity of 1,400 metric tons it announced in October 2017, but only talks of “industrial scale” now.

In cooperation with a member of the Silicon Module Super League (the seven largest module suppliers), Ferroglobe has tested 500 kW of multicrystalline wafers using 100% unblended UMG silicon from Ferrosolar. According to the company, the sample consistently delivered cell efficiencies of 18.5% and yield ratios of 98%.

A further test of PERC cells using black-silicon texture is planned with another Super League member. The most likely candidates are Hanwha Q-Cells and Canadian Solar, which both have experience with UMG silicon.

Update on August 21:

In its Q2 2018 results presentation on August 21, Ferroglobe confirmed the plant’s annual capacity of 1,400 MT and added: “Off-take agreements currently being negotiated with multiple wafer producers.”

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