LG Electronics decided at its board of directors meeting held on October 20 to convert its A1 plasma panel-manufacturing line in Gumi, Korea, into solar cell production lines.
LG plans to invest KRW 220 billion by 2010 to establish two production lines. The company expects that the first line will be able to begin mass production from the first quarter of 2010, with the second line beginning full operations in the first quarter of 2011. Both lines will manufacture crystalline silicon solar cells and modules with a capacity of 120MW each.
“Leveraging LG’s cumulative R&D knowledge in various photovoltaic technologies for the last three years as well as our mass manufacturing expertise will allow us to quickly become a global player in the solar cell and module manufacturing business,” said Kwan Shik Cho, head of the Solar Cell Business Team at LG Electronics.
LG currently operates a solar cell business team under its chief technical officer (CTO). The company has also progressively accumulated R&D knowledge to further expand its business into the solar energy industry as a new growth engine. As a part of this strategy, LG Electronics acquired solar cell business by transfer from its sister company, LG Chem Ltd., in June 2008.
Industry experts forecast that crystalline silicon solar cells will make up the 80 percent of solar business, in contrast to thin film solar cells. Crystal silicon solar cell utilizes silicon wafer, while thin film solar cell coats light absorption layers and electrodes from various materials on a substrate, meaning thin film solar cell is relatively inexpensive but low in efficiency. Currently, the global solar industry market is valued at more than USD 10 billion dollars.
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