Norwegian Crystals secures strategic investment from EIT InnoEnergy to boost European silicon ingots production

Source: press release, 7 September 2022

EIT InnoEnergy CEO, Diego Pavia
EIT InnoEnergy CEO, Diego Pavia (photo: EIT InnoEnergy)

EIT InnoEnergy, the innovation engine for sustainable energy supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, a body of the European Union (EU), has entered a collaboration with Norwegian Crystals to accelerate photovoltaic (PV) ingots production in Europe.

The recent RePowerEU plans increase the already ambitious renewables targets set by Fit for 55. Regarding PV, the new target is 40 to 45 GW on new annual deployments in this decade; with the clear industrial goal of supplying this new demand by domestic European sources.

Today Europe is heavily dependent on Asian supply with China’s share in all key manufacturing stages of solar panels such as polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules exceeding 80%. The announced ESIA (European Solar Industrial Alliance) is the initiative that RePowerEU is launching, mirroring the success of the European Battery Alliance, to create an EU domestic industrial supply, which will be sustainable, traceable and circular, and producing up to 30 GW of the targeted demand.

For the European energy transition strategy to take place, bolstered reshoring is required – particularly as solar remains the fastest growing renewable energy source. Norwegian Crystals will manufacture its silicon ingots in Glomfjord in Northern Norway. These ingots have a carbon footprint that is a third of those manufactured in Asia, due to proximity to renewable energy sources for production and reduced logistics related emissions.

The necessary permits are already in place for construction, and it is ready to commence in 2022 with offtake and supply agreements arranged. The partnership with EIT InnoEnergy has ambitions to deliver a five-fold increase in output compared to current capacity.

Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy, comments, “I am confident that with the EU, the industry, and financial institutions working hand in hand, we will achieve the target of producing 30 GW of polysilicon, ingots, wafer, cells and modules in Europe. This latest announcement underlines our continued commitment to the European Industrial Strategy, fostering innovation in Europe to create economic and sustainable prosperity. EIT InnoEnergy, which houses the largest number of sustainable energy portfolio companies in the world – with 40+ investments in the European Industrial PV value chain – will use its deep domain expertise to support the scaling of Norwegian Crystals.”

Gøran Bye, CEO of Norwegian Crystals, adds, “For us, there’s nothing more important than bringing the cleanest possible components to renewable energy solutions and so being able to partner with EIT InnoEnergy to accelerate our production is a significant step forward. The connections and support it can provide will ensure we bring more silicon ingot production capacity to Europe so we can fulfil our ambitions of growing at pace over the next few years to support the industry as it scales up.”