NorSun AS has been awarded EUR 54 million (NOK 600 mill) in grant from the EU Innovation Fund for a 3 Gigawatt (GW) expansion of current ingot and wafer capacity in Årdal in Vestland.
Solar energy has become the most affordable source of renewable energy in large parts of the world. This is largely thanks to sustained subsidies, innovation and capacity building in China. Due to the geopolitical changes, both the US and the EU have launched ambitious plans to rebuild their respective industrial value chains for solar energy. In particular, this is done through the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, where NorSun is already in the process of technical and commercial preparation of a 5 GW plant for ingot and wafer production.
As the only remaining significant Western ingot and wafer manufacturer, NorSun is in an outstanding position to plan, build and operate such facilities, based on its long experience in producing high-quality wafers for high efficiency PV applications. NorSun has the world's lowest CO2 footprint for its wafer production due to the use of clean hydropower and leading production efficiency. The EU sees NorSun and Norway as a strategic resource to rebuild the European solar value chain and has therefore chosen to provide direct support to this industry in Norway. 3 GW of new capacity provides a quadrupling of current capacity. This is a significant boost, but still only a tenth of what the EU plans to develop by 2025! Norun's ambition is to play a significant role in this reconstruction.
NorSun's unique position has contributed to significant interest in our growth plans from customers and now also from the EU, says Erik Løkke-Øwre, CEO of Norsun. "We are very pleased to receive this award. It sends a strong signal to NorSun and the Norwegian authorities that the EU is serious when they urge Norway to take an active part in the solar value chain reconstruction. Norway can become the EU's strategic upstream partner for the solar sector based on the significant process industry expertise in high-purity silicon, silicon ingots and wafers that we have in Norway. Enova was a great help at the start of the application process. Now the challenge is to clarify the Norwegian support conditions for an expansion so that NorSun can accept this award and not only develop Årdal, but continue growth also in other parts of the Norway," says Løkke-Øwre.
The terms of the award will be negotiated during the second half of 2023. This will run in parallel with customer negotiations and the implementation of a detailed technical preparation of an investment. A decision can be expected in Q1-24.
Erik Løkke-Øwre, CEO, tel: 94 88 87 12
John Andersen Jr., Chairman, tel: 90 17 40 80