The integrated factory will produce the entire value chain starting with raw quartz, which will then be processed into solar-silicon ingots, crystalline wafers and cells, and finally solar photovoltaic panels. The factory will operate at 71 MW of production annually. It will be found in the department (i.e. county) of Pocito at the intersection of Maurín Street and 6th Street, here in the province of San Juan.
Preliminary Factory Layout:
The total surface area of the factory is approximately 41,000 m2, including internal roads and the loading bay area. The surface area occupied by buildings, such as offices and productions areas, is 13,100 m2, with the area solely designated for production totaling to 12,000 m2.
Regarding the design and production distribution, a preliminary design is already in place, to which the function and integration of the three production lines are vital to its understanding. An industrial bay is planned with sufficient space to allow for adequate and coordinated functioning of all of the machines in the production of silicon ingots, crystalline wafers, crystalline photovoltaic cells, and solar photovoltaic panels.
Notable areas to the preliminary design are the manufacturing areas for ingots, wafers, cells, and solar panels. Also present are separate areas dedicated to service, movement of goods and personnel, as well as logistics.
The ground level of the factory makes up the majority of the surface area of the building and its equipment. The 2nd floor of the factory will pertain to the manufacturing of monocristalline silicon ingots, also known as the first production line; the machines that belong to this area are taller and need two floors for proper operation, oversight and maintenance.
The administrative sector will be located outside of the plant, but it will be directly connected to the manufacturing sector. The initially projected surface area for will be around 1000 m2. Other areas found in the administrative sector include the following: reception area, waiting area, product display area, cafeteria, in-service kitchen, presentation room, individual and shared offices, meeting rooms, and changing areas.
The plants are organized in a way that considers the integration of the three production lines into one another. The plans are made to conform with local and national laws that apply to both San Juan and Argentina.
The project is designed in a way so that the processing areas facilitate material and maintenance access. All interior finishing will comply with industrial standards for installations of high technology. Key points are taken into account, such as minimizing movement distance, maintaining protection against contamination, minimizing the steps necessary to handle materials, as well as adequate access and storage.
The complex itself will be made up of nationally-produced machines, components and services (on-shore), as well as machines, components, and services from abroad (off-shore). The on-shore aspect will be overseen and carried out by SCHMID Argentina and the off-shore aspect will be run and executed by Gebr. SCHMID GmbH of Germany.
Machine Listing for Each Production Line:
Three manufacturing plants will constitute the integrated factory of solar-silicon ingots, wafers, crystalline cells, and photovoltaic panels at 71 MW of annual production.
Ingot and Silicon Wafer Factory:
This factory will contain a process that will smelt solar-grade silicon (raw material) in order to obtain a monocrystalline ingot, which will be further processed into the final silicon product, known as wafers.
Manufacturing Process for the Silicon Ingots and Wafers:
Various steps are found in the processing of silicon wafers, starting with the formation of silicon ingots in induction ovens, then through a series of mechanized steps that allow production quality control over the crystalline silicon wafers.
Manufacturing of Photovoltaic Cells:
The wafers from the previous stage are then converted into photovoltaic cells that will be used as an integral part of the solar panels. For this step, the integration of semiautomatic machines and highly specialized personal is very important. Quality control is extremely strict throughout the whole process.
Manufacturing of Photovoltaic Solar Panels:
The solar cells obtained in the previous stage are checked and quality controlled in a highly-detailed manner to ensure that the final quality of the solar panel be optimal. During the solar panel manufacturing process, it is very important to have operators intervene at all stages.