The 50-megawatt (MW) ground-mounted, on-grid site will be the largest solar park built in Germany using polycrystalline solar cells. QCI says the project will be built and linked to the grid by the end of the year, at which time it will be sold to an external investor.
Under the terms of the joint venture, QCI and MEMC will each invest €70m ($99.6m) to cover bridge financing during the construction phase. MEMC will supply the silicon wafers, which Q-Cells will then turn into solar cells.
The solar park will utilise 225,000 modules and cover an area encompassing 135 hectares – equivalent to 270 football fields.
QCI is the project development arm of parent company Q-Cells, the world’s largest maker of solar cells. Founded in 2007, QCI built solar parks totalling 26MW last year. It expects to top 150MW this year, as it targets Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Eastern Europe and the US.
“Strasskirchen represents a new dimension for us, and we are proving that we are able of achieving very high quality in a record short time,” says Marko Schulz, head of QCI and a member of the parent company’s board.
Last week Q-Cells scrapped its earnings guidance for the year after reporting a €62m loss for the second quarter. Revenues dropped 40% compared to the first quarter of the year, with chief executive Anton Milner blaming the tumble on the depressed global market for photovoltaics (PV) systems.
To plug its losses, Q-Cells aims to make dramatic short-term changes, including trimming its production capacity and putting more workers onto part-time hours and short-term contracts.
On 23 July MEMC reported a quarterly operating loss of $14.3m, reflecting the “generally weak macroeconomic conditions,” according to chief executive Ahmad Chatila.