Masdar PV

the solar power arm of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned renewable energy firm Masdar –

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has finished construction of its solar panel factory in Germany and production

is scheduled to begin in October.

The factory will have 170 employees by the end of the year and is to produce

65MW of solar panels in its first year of production, rising to 85MW in

subsequent years. The company said the facility will produce thin-film solar

panels that are less efficient but cheaper to make than standard models.

“Large-field installations are clearly our market for thin-film, as well as

the commercial rooftop market,” Rainer Gegenwart, chief executive of Masdar PV

told BusinessGreen.com. “In the main, we will target the large EU

markets: Germany, Italy, France and Spain.”

The company also confirmed that construction of a second factory in Abu Dhabi

targetted at the Middle East market will begin next year with a goal of

beginning panel production in October 2010.

The facilities will use four hectares of a potential 15-hectare site and

expect to expand significantly in the next few years, with longer-term plans to

open further facilities.

Gegenwart said he expected the current decline in the solar market – caused

by overhyped demand in Spain and the economic downturn – to have stabilised by

October.

Worldwide installations of solar PV systems are expected to decline 32 per

cent in 2009 to 3.5GW, according to analyst iSuppli. But industry insiders are

confident that demand will bounce back strongly as the economic recovery

materialises and panel prices continue to fall.

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