New technology company established at Herøya Industrial Park
Steuler Solar GmbH has developed and patented a new generation of crucibles for production of wafers for the solar cell industry. This crucible will be an important aid in the reduction of production costs for pure solar energy. Its subsidiary, Steuler Solar Technology AS, is now establishing pilot production of crucibles at Herøya Industrial Park.
“After having evaluated a number of alternative locations for pilot production, we have decided to base this plant at Herøya. This is partly due to the good implementation capacity with the Industrial Park concept Pilot Arena Herøya,” says Rune Roligheten, Technical Director at Steuler Solar Technology. He also emphasises the outstanding local support received by the project in the form of funding from Innovation Norway, with Vekst i Grenland providing promotion.
Steuler Solar is backed by reliable owners. The company is part of the Steuler group in Germany, which has an annual turnover of EUR 450 million and more than 2000 employees.
Major savings The new crucibles are based on advanced ceramics, and unlike the crucibles currently used by the wafer industry, they can be used more than once.
“The wafer industry can save a lot on costs in this regard,” says Roligheten. “Improved cleanliness and better control of the crystallisation process are other benefits offered. This will result in wafers that are of higher quality, and it will significantly enhance the power efficiency of solar cells. Hence Steuler Solar Technology will be helping to reduce CO2 and create sustainable development,” he explains.
Full-scale Steuler Solar Technology currently employs three members of staff and has big plans for the future.
“New production technology will be developed during the pilot phase for full-scale industrial production in future. We are also aiming to develop Steuler Solar Technology into a future technology centre for the company’s activities,” says Roligheten.
At a time when the solar industry is experiencing difficult conditions, with overcapacity and sharply falling prices, the company’s market for crystallisation crucibles has increased enormously. This market is expected to double over the next four to five years.