Japanese overseas alt.energy investment news December 20, 2006Posted by fukumimi in Energy, Japan.
This type of investment does make sense, IMO.
NorSun AS, an Oslo, Norway-based solar energy company, has raised around $8.45 million in VC funding from Itochu Corp.
Looks like a monosilicon ingot and wafer manufacturer.
Norway has REC, the world’s largest polysilicon producer which IPO’d in the largest alt.energy IPO of 2006. (2005 sales of $400M, current market cap is NOK56B, or a shade under $10B (IPO market cap was $7.7B), and this was a company founded in 1996 and took on just $44.2M in VC money)
The compelling reason for PV silicon in Norway? Cheap, clean (hydroelectric) energy – silicon production is highly energy intensive, high quality silica (raw material), access to cheap and clean water – production of silicon is water intensive too, and increasingly, a concentration of people with domain expertise as the PV cluster grows.
Energy costs (and sources) mean that it makes little sense for PV silicon foundries to be located away from cheap hydroelectric electricity generation at this time. Seems a lot better than producing silicon in China, which depends upon dirty coal powered generators to produce electricity (the product may be green, but the manufacturing process is likely to be a lot less greener than doing the energy intensive silicon production elsewhere – though I guess compelling reasons can be given for doing cell and module manufacturing in China).