Meyer Burger Opens New Plant to Produce High-Performance Solar Cells in Thalheim (City of Bitterfeld-Wolfen)
Start towards environmentally friendly solar cell technology “Made in Europe” and important step towards more energy sovereignty in Europe.
Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, and Minister of Economics, Prof. Armin Willingmann, are impressed by the investments in this technology of the future and the creation of high-quality jobs.Production starts with an annual capacity of 400 megawatts, capacity expansion to 5 gigawatts targeted by 2026.
The opening of the new plant took place digitally against the backdrop of the COVID 19 pandemic. On-site, CEO Gunter Erfurt welcomed several people in person and virtually, including the Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, Reiner Haseloff, the Minister for Economics, Science and Digitalization of Saxony-Anhalt, Prof. Armin Willingmann, and Armin Schenk, Mayor of Bitterfeld-Wolfen.
In addition, the Swiss Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Paul R. Seger, had sent a word of greeting. The opening will be covered in a video that can be seen on Meyer Burger’s website and social media channels.
The “Solar Valley” is once again becoming a symbol for a successful European solar industry. In addition to the ideal infrastructure, Meyer Burger relies on first-class trained and experienced personnel in the region.
With the first expansion phase of 400 megawatts, Meyer Burger has already created around 350 high-quality jobs at two new locations.
Meyer Burger’s proprietary Heterojunction/SmartWire technology, developed over twelve years, is setting new performance and sustainability benchmarks for solar modules. Meyer Burger builds its supply chains as locally as possible; the most important raw material, polysilicon, comes from Europe.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems confirmed earlier this year that solar cell production in Bitterfeld-Wolfen has significant environmental benefits compared to conventional manufacturing.
This was rewarded by the German state of Saxony-Anhalt with a commitment for an environmental protection grant of up to 15 million euros and an investment grant of up to 7.5 million euros.
The production equipment developed at Meyer Burger’s Neuchâtel and Thun sites and built-in Hohenstein-Ernstthal (Saxony) is now being put into operation. Production in Thalheim will be ramped up in June. In the highly automated full operation, up to 200,000 solar cells will roll off the production line every day.
The Thalheim site currently has a total area of 27,000 square meters. This is sufficient for the targeted rapid expansion to 1.4 gigawatts of solar cell capacity. In addition to production, Meyer Burger will accommodate important company divisions here, including sales and marketing. The solar cells will be processed into solar modules in Freiberg.
Meyer Burger will open its solar module plant there on May 26, 2021, and the first modules will be shipped from there starting in July.
Reiner Haseloff said: “This investment gives the energy transition in Saxony-Anhalt another concrete shape and new impetus. With forty years of experience in photovoltaics, Meyer Burger is a company that fits the Bitterfeld-Wolfen location.
This is because we have a wide range of experience in the industry here and, of course, a motivated and well-trained workforce. Meyer Burger is indeed setting standards in renewable energy technology, and we are therefore pleased to welcome the company to Saxony-Anhalt.”
Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Prof. Dr. Armin Willingmann, commented on the opening: “Meyer Burger has succeeded in establishing a new production site for solar cells and modules in Bitterfeld-Wolfen in a very short time and has created high-quality jobs.
This shows in an exemplary manner that Saxony-Anhalt has developed into an attractive location for national and international investors. The fact that the solar industry is picking up new momentum here is no coincidence: over the past five years in particular, we have networked business and science more closely and made targeted investments in both areas.
The availability of skilled workers and the opportunity to drive forward development projects in cooperation with scientific institutions is what makes Saxony-Anhalt so attractive as a business location today. Meyer Burger’s major investment is making a decisive contribution to further developing Saxony-Anhalt into a state of future technologies.”
CEO Gunter Erfurt thanked the politicians for their support and said: “Meyer Burger is setting a milestone at the historic solar site Solar Valley on Europe’s path to greater strategic independence in the key technology of photovoltaics. This is an example of the European industry’s successful ability to transform towards sustainable business.
There is a unique opportunity to become an innovative global pacesetter in the field of renewable energies, to create high-quality jobs in the region, and to provide our customers attractive products for the generation of climate-friendly and competitive electrical energy.”