Germany’s SolarWorld acquires Qatar joint venture stake as domestic labour costs rise

2 March 2010 – SolarWorld, Germany’s biggest solar company by revenue, has acquired nearly a third of a Qatar-based polysilicon joint venture in a move to shift production abroad in light of rising labour costs at home.
 
According to Reuters, the joint venture, Qatar Solar Technologies (QST), will invest more than $500m in the construction of a solar-grade silicon plant with a planned annual capacity of 3600 tonnes. Production is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2012 and German solar equipment maker Centrotherm will be technology partner for the Qatar-based joint venture.
 
SolarWorld is to own 29 per cent in the joint venture, while partners Qatar Foundation and Qatar Development Bank will own 70 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively.
 
German solar companies are making great efforts in moving production abroad as looming cuts in solar incentives as well as high labour costs in Germany – the world’s largest solar market – are putting huge pressure on margins.

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