The FINANCIAL — LG Electronics (LG), one of the global leaders and technology innovators in consumer electronics, announced on January 19 that it had entered into an exclusive agreement with solar energy leader REC Wafer of Norway to purchase multicrystalline silicon wafers.
According to LG, the Korean-based global consumer electronics company and REC Wafer will make the deal official with a public signing ceremony on January 22 in Seoul, Korea.
“We are committed to investing in and developing clean energy solutions by fully leveraging our cumulative R&D knowledge and mass-manufacturing expertise,” said Dr. Woo Paik, president and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for LG Electronics. “Our relationship with REC will give us an opportunity to further our goal of becoming a global leader in solar and renewable energy technologies”
The agreement between LG and REC is structured as a five-year contract with pre-determined prices of more than USD 340 million for the entire contract period. LG will begin to receive wafers with limited volumes in 2010 and the delivery amount will increase over the contract period until 2014.
Erik Thorsen, president and CEO of REC Group, said, “We are proud to have LG Electronics, one of the world’s leaders in consumer electronics, as a strategic partner. Working with LG will give us an exciting opportunity to learn from their extensive mass production and technology development experience.”
Taking the initiative in alternative energy development, LG Electronics and its sister companies within LG Group have secured an integrated value chain for solar power production, including production of key components such as solar cells and modules.
LG Electronics sees solar energy as a new growth engine for the company and has even established a solar cell business team under its CTO. The company is also making significant investments in solar energy research and development.
In October 2008, LG announced its plan to convert its A1 plasma panel manufacturing line in Gumi, Korea, for solar cell production. LG plans to invest KRW 220 billion to establish two solar production lines with mass production to begin in the first quarter of 2010. Each line will have an annual capacity of 120 megawatts.
Industry experts forecast that crystalline silicon solar cells will make up the 80 percent of the solar industry by 2010, overtaking thin film solar cells. Crystalline silicon solar cells are based on silicon wafers, while thin film solar cells are made by coating light absorbing layers and electrodes from various materials on a substrate. Thin film solar cells are less expensive than crystalline silicon, but also much less efficient. Currently, the global solar industry market is valued at more than USD 10 billion.