May 27, 2008
Silicon Border Science Park to House Major Expansion for Q-Cells -Largest Manufacturer of Solar Cell Technology
Silicon Border Science Park, located in Mexicali, the capital city of Baja California, Mexico, has been selected by Q-Cells, the world's largest solar cell manufacturer, for its next major expansion.
Q-Cells' primary manufacturing facility is located in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Germany. The company chose Silicon Border Science Park for its American manufacturing site because of its strategic location and business-friendly environment.
The Science Park is a 10,000-acre, world-class science and technology based industrial park that supports leading-edge manufacturing and research facilities owned by major technology groups from across the globe. The Park is located on the U.S. and Mexican border, which provides easy access to all of the top technology hubs within the U.S. and enables manufacturers to cost-effectively compete with operations anywhere in the world. It is a two-hour drive east of San Diego; a three-hour drive to both Los Angeles and Phoenix; and a two-hour flight to Dallas and Austin. Its proximity provides an ideal location to target the U.S. market, which is the world's largest consumer of electronics and potentially will become the largest for solar products.
"Our goal is to provide a strategic manufacturing alternative to Asia for cost-effective, high technology operations in North America," said Daniel J. Hill, CEO of Silicon Border. "We have been working diligently to bring advanced manufacturing back to this region, and with this expansion decision from Q-Cells, this initiative is now becoming a reality."
Silicon Border has entered into a financial partnership with ING Clarion to fund the construction of the Science Park, and a partnership with the Mexican Design & Construction Firm, Maiz Transforma to complete the infrastructure build-out.
The Park's strategic location will allow Q-Cells to have excellent business flexibility for its global operations. Mexico has free trade agreements with 43 countries worldwide, including the U.S., and offers tax and financial incentives that are equal to, if not better than, most any place in the world. The presence of Q-Cells within the Park is also a benefit for Mexico. It is an important first step in the country's goal of developing the solar industry for its economy, and enables them to become a world leader in the alternative energy sector.
Anton Milner, Q-Cells Chief Executive Officer, said: "The location is ideal for the American markets. With our strategic decision to locate the innovative Thin Film technology in Silicon Border/Mexicali we want to jointly enter into the Solar-High-Tech era in Mexico."
Q-Cells' manufacturing complex will be comprised of separate facilities, and will be developed in phases, with construction of the first phase beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008. Facility and plant investments are expected to reach up to $3.5 billion in the mid to long term. The expansion plans are contingent upon the development of the Photovoltaics markets in the U.S., Mexico and Latin America, that will be supplied from Mexicali. The overall size of the site will be 60 hectares (150 acres).
Bringing Q-Cells to Mexico is a reflection of the excellent working relationship and leadership that Silicon Border recognizes in the Baja California government, in particular SEDECO, the state's department of Economic Development, who has jointly promoted Silicon Border Science Park since its inception.
Guided by U.S. semiconductor industry veterans, Silicon Border is a cost-effective, manufacturing alternative in North America for the world's most advanced technologies, such as semiconductor, solar cell, telecommunications and flat-panel display manufacturers. It provides 10,000 acres of land for business space supported by a world-class, industrial infrastructure and a significant Planned Urban Development Community. The Science Park is in close proximity to three major area universities, and will be home to the Baja California State University campus of engineering.
Silicon Border Development is currently in discussion with a number of additional companies looking to grow their global operations.
About Silicon Border
Silicon Border is a 4,000-hectare (10,000 acres) high-technology science park catering to the specialized needs of the solar cell and semiconductor process technology located on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mexicali. Silicon Border provides a cost-effective and competitive manufacturing alternative in North America for emerging and global companies. Improving upon the world's leading technology parks, the Park's world-class infrastructure and education component supports the stringent requirements of the semiconductor, solar, LCD, LED, aerospace and biotechnology industries. More information about Silicon Border is available online at www.siliconborder.com.
Mexicali is the state capital of the State of Baja California and is across the border from the Imperial Valley of California. The State shares a border with California. The City is a two hours drive east of San Diego on Interstate 8. There are about one million residents. Its roots are primarily agricultural. However, over the last 20 years it has been focused on industrial businesses, including such technology companies as Sony, Skyworks Semiconductor, Mitsubishi, Honeywell, Lear, Thompson and others. There are many technical schools in the area, including a private university, a state university and a federal university.
About Q-Cells AG
Founded in 1999, Q-Cells AG is today the largest manufacturer of solar cells worldwide with some 1,800 employees. In 2007 the company produced mono- and polycrystalline solar cells with a total performance of 389.2-megawatt peak and delivered them worldwide to manufacturers of solar modules. More than 200 scientists and engineers at Q-Cells are working on advancing the technology so as to achieve the objective of the company - reducing photovoltaic costs quickly and on a sustained basis and making them competitive. In addition to the activities in its core business, from 2008 onwards several Q-Cells AG subsidiaries will be producing photovoltaic modules on the basis of various thin-film technologies. Q-Cells AG has branches in Hong Kong, China and Japan, is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662) and included in the TecDAX, the German technology index.