Silicor taps MT Højgaard to design, build Iceland plant

California-based Silicor Materials has signed a contract worth more than $226.5m with MT Højgaard for the design and construction of a 16,000 metric ton per year solar polysilicon production plant in Iceland.

Silicor says it has worked with the Danish civil engineering giant for more than a year to optimize the design of the planned 121,000 square-meter facility, which will supply global PV cell and module manufacturers.

Silicor, which is by the private-equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners, expects to begin construction on the plant in Grundartangi in West Iceland early 2016.

“One by one, we continue to check off the boxes required to get our commercial-scale plant in the ground—on time, on budget, and with some of the biggest names in the business,” says Terry Jester, chief executive of Silicor Materials.

Last year, Silicor tapped Arion Bank, one of the largest banks in Iceland, to lead the debt financing for the plant, which would create as many as 400 full-time jobs in addition to up to 100 construction positions.

Centra Corporate Finance was chosen to raise equity for the project.

Silicor selected Iceland for both its excellent transportation infrastructure and low-cost renewable energy (geothermal) that it says will enable it to manufacture the world’s only “green silicon.”

Silicor markets its solar silicon as a lower-cost, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional polysilicon, allowing cell and module fabricators to reduce production costs with no impact to product performance or quality.

It uses a proprietary metals-based process that consumes significantly less energy than traditional methods, according to the company. The material now powers about 20 million PV cells globally.