EDF's Photowatt plans JV with Canadian Solar, capacity boost to 500 MWp

Solar modules. Author: Marco Bellucci. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic

January 9 (Renewables Now) - French solar manufacturer Photowatt, a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN), on Monday unveiled plans for a joint venture (JV) with Canadian Solar Inc (NASDAQ:CSIQ) and a production capacity expansion to more than 500 MWp.

Photowatt, which makes photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, said it has started talks with Canadian Solar and Grenoble, France-based ECM Greentech about forming a new company that would produce silicon ingots and wafers. The new entity, to be called Photowatt Crystal Advanced, would be 60% owned by EDF EN via Photowatt, 30% by Canadian Solar and 10% by ECM Greentech. The latter has developed a silicon crystallisation technology together with the French National Solar Energy Institute (INES).

According to Photowatt, the expertise and capabilities of the three partners will give the JV a competitive edge in taking advantage of opportunities in the rapidly growing solar market both in France and around the world. Production capacity will gradually reach more than 500 MWp pear year, up from the current capacity of 50 MWp at Photowatt's facility in Bourgoin Jallieu, the company added.

The wafers will have a low-carbon footprint and will be used in the modules for projects competing in tenders under the French government's multiannual energy program (PPE).

Photowatt Crystal Advanced could also support Electricite de France SA's (EPA:EDF) recently announced plan to deploy 30 GW of solar power capacity in France between 2020 and 2035.

Photowatt further said it would focus on its research and development (R&D) activities, rebranded Photowatt Lab, in cooperation with EDF's R&D unit and other research centres.

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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