Silicor Materials Inc has announced it has secured $105 million in equity capital agreements to finance the construction of its first commercial-scale manufacturing operation in Grundartangi, Iceland.
Silicor is a manufacturer of high-quality solar silicon and aluminium by-products. The capital raised by the company includes support from Icelandic pension funds as well as other strategic investors, including Silicor invesjtor Hudson Clean Energy Partners. Centra Corporate Finance served as the equity advisor to Silicor for the capital raise, with additional guidance from Hudson. A portion of the capital will be drawn as work continues on the project but the bulk of it will be drawn once construction commences, which is expected to occur in mid-2016.
The silicon manufactured by Silicor is a lower-cost alternative to traditional polysilicon that enables module manufacturers to optimise their production costs. The material is produced through a proprietary metals-based process that consumes two-thirds less energy than traditional methods and requires no toxic chemicals. The process can produce solar silicon for use in PV wafers and cells that achieve conversion efficiencies in line with traditional materials and the company has already secured sales commitments and letters of intent with leading global solar module manufacturers, equivalent to approximately 75 percent of the plant’s annual production capacity.
Additionally, Silicor has finalised supply arrangements with global aluminium leaders to support its production process, which yields premium aluminium alloys as by-products than can then be used by these companies for their distribution. In addition, Silicor’s polyaluminium chloride (PAC) by-product will be sold to a third party for refining and resale into the water treatment market.
“The government is focused on promoting Iceland as an interesting investment opportunity and with increased stability in the Icelandic economy we've seen growing interest” Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister of Iceland said on the occasion. “This large project is a very good example of this. It is obvious that investors see many positive opportunities in Iceland and we are very optimistic about the future.”
Neil Auerbach, Vice Chairman of the Silicor board and founder and managing partner of Hudson Clean Energy Partners, added that Iceland is a perfect partner for Silicor with its suite of attractive trading relationships and compelling market power fundamentals and that the plant will place Silicor in the top six solar silicon manufacturers by volume, with an industry-leading cost structure.
Equipment for the new factory will be supplied by SMS Siemag, a company specialising in the supply of metals production tools. Construction of the facility will be completed by MT Højgaard out of Denmark. Local subcontractors in Iceland are also providing significant support.