US Market To Get German Solar Wafer Technology

NexWafe Heads To US With Multi-GW Production Plans, Led By Former JA Solar Americas Executive

US Market To Get German Solar Wafer Technology

NexWafe sees an opportunity to produce wafers in the US as the country has been inundated mostly with new cell and module production announcements so far. (Photo Credit: NexWafe GmbH)

  • NexWafe has revealed its US manufacturing ambitions, starting with a 6 GW initial production capacity 
  • A US subsidiary has been set up under Jonathan Pickering to scout for possible location and offtake agreements 
  • It expects a Series D fundraising in H1/2024 to help with the US expansion and also for the 250 MW line in Germany 

German silicon solar wafer manufacturer NexWafe GmbH has become yet another European manufacturer with plans to expand its footprint to the US, encouraged by the Inflation Reduction Act. It wants to evaluate multi-GW solar wafer production for its North American operations, starting with an initial target production volume of 6 GW. 

The manufacturer has established a new US subsidiary to evaluate the development. It will explore strategic partnerships, potential manufacturing locations and associated regional incentives in the US. Offtake agreements for domestic wafer supply is also on the agenda of the subsidiary. 

NexWafe had previously announced a partnership with one of its investors Aramco Ventures to build a green manufacturing fab in Saudi Arabia (see Next Gen Wafer Production In Germany).  

The US production will use the company’s trademark EpiNex technology that follows a direct gas-to-wafer manufacturing process that it claims leads to a 60% reduction in energy consumption, thus bringing down the cost of wafers produced. 

Spun out of Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in 2015, NexWafe is building a 250 MW production line for €70 million in Bitterfeld-Wolfden, Germany, which can be expanded to an additional 3 GW/year wafer capacity. The expansion here will cost around €300 million.  

The 250 MW line is scheduled to start commercial production in H2/2025, based on the completion of a Series D fundraising expected in H1/2024. It says this fundraising will also support US expansion and further R&D. 

One of the investors in the start-up is India’s Reliance India Limited (RIL) that plans to build a large-scale wafer manufacturing facility in India using EpiNex technology (see Strategic Investment For German Wafer Producer). 

NexWafe has appointed the former President of JA Solar Americas and former Vice President of Applied Materials, Jonathan Pickering, to head the US operations. As the Vice President of Business Development for North America at NexWafe, Pickering will use his experience of the solar value chain to establish the German manufacturer in North America. 

Multiple top-tier solar companies have committed to advanced PV cell and module manufacturing at a multi-gigawatt scale across the US. But now we see a significant bottleneck in the supply chain for a domestic source of silicon wafers,” said Pickering. “Our breakthrough EpiNex direct ‘gas-to-wafer’ manufacturing process targets this exact opportunity.”  

Another European wafer maker NorSun has also announced a 5 GW US plant for ingot and wafer production. However, it has had to shutter its Norwegian plant citing piled up low-priced modules in the European warehouses (see European Solar Wafer Manufacturer In Trouble). 

European heterojunction (HJT) solar cell and module manufacturer Meyer Burger Technology AG has already announced its foray into the US market with a cell and module fab. The company recently said it was contemplating shutting down its module production in Germany and focus on the US market due to lack of financial incentives and ‘distorted European market conditions’ (see Meyer Burger May Shutter German Module Fab By April 2024).  

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Senior News Editor: Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. --Email : [email protected] --

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