centrotherm photovoltaics achieves milestone at silicon installations

Blaubeuren, 07.04.2008

  • First technical center worldwide to develop reactors and converters for the production of polysilicon at work
  • Successful reactor start
  • Transfer of know-how from solar cell to silicon production

centrotherm photovoltaics AG, a provider of technology and services for the production of crystalline and thin film solar cells and solar silicon has achieved a key milestone in its solar silicon division. The technical center for developing reactors and converters to produce polysilicon has been operating.

Within scope of the "Siemens procedure" thin silicon rods are utilized and heated up in a gas atmosphere made from trichlorosilane and hydrogen at approximately 1,100 degrees in a Siemens reactor. Additional silicon from the gas phase gradually settles on the rods. The reactor is then switched off, the rods are cooled down and carefully broken into small pieces that can then be further processed. In the technical center preheating of the silicon rods and starting the electric heater, which is required for glowing the rods, was successfully completed. This represents a decisive step for centrotherm photovoltaics in the successful market launch of reactors and converters. "We have solved an essential and, at the same time, the most difficult process step in silicon production for solar cells with a high level of efficiency", explained Dr. Frank Stubhan, COO Silicon Division. "This takes us a major step forward."

In the technical center, reactors and converters are tested, enhanced and optimized. centrotherm photovoltaics is the only company worldwide to run such a technical center and therefore aims for leadership in the system engineering and process technology for the production auf polysilicon.

The first plants are already scheduled to be delivered to customers in Asia in the second quarter of this year, while "first silicon out" – the first silicon from current production – is expected in autumn 2008.

"We worked hard to transfer our knowledge in solar cell production to the production of solar silicon, and thereby to expand our technology know-how. We are proud that we succeeded in accomplishing this important step", says Robert Hartung, CEO centrotherm photovoltaics. "With our plants and consulting services we want to enable silicon producers to manufacture this important raw material in the most cost efficient manner."

About centrotherm photovoltaics AG

centrotherm photovoltaics AG is an internationally leading provider of technology and services for the production of solar cells and solar silicon. The broad range of products and services comprises key equipment and turnkey production lines for crystalline and thin film solar cells. For the production of solar silicon the company provides "Siemens" reactors and converters. Business operations currently focus on the growth market of Asia. The international customer base includes well-known companies from the solar sector. The company, which is based in Blaubeuren near Ulm, currently has over 320 employees.

centrotherm photovoltaics AG

Johannes-Schmid-Straße 8
89143 Blaubeuren

Listing: Regulated Market/Prime Standard, Frankfurt Securities Exchange
Registered Office: Germany

Company Contact:

Saskia Schultz-Ebert
Senior Manager Investor Relations
T +49 7344 918-8890

Press Contact:

Grit Pauli
HOSCHKE & CONSORTEN Public Relations GmbH
T +49 40 3690 50-31