Alliaverre wants to move a 600 MW solar glass plant to Amiens, France, to reduce European customer delivery times, as it faces rising shipping prices and manufacturing constraints in Asia.

From pv magazine France

The trend of relocating PV industry assets in France continues. At the recent Smarter E exhibition in Munich, Moez Ben Amar, general manager of French glass manufacturer Alliaverre, told pv magazine France that by the end of this year or early 2023, the company plans to build a solar glass plant in Amiens, France, where its head office is located. This could see the light of day at the end of 2022, or even at the beginning of 2023.

At the moment, Alliaverre manufactures glass under OEM contracts with industrial interests in South Asia.

“Manufacturing and delivery times are currently 10 to 12 weeks, which mobilizes significant cash for our customers,” said Amar. “In addition, since the start of the Covid crisis, container transport prices have increased tenfold.”

To overcome these constraints, the fully automated site would therefore produce 50 MW per month or 600 MW per year of solar-grade glass. It would cover three market segments: 2 mm glass for glass/glass modules, glass in 3.2 mm for classic modules, and solar tiles.

The shaping of flat glass will be handled by cutting, coating and tempering the glass.

“We will have a large stock of large flat glass plates in France, which will allow us to reduce the processing and delivery time of solar glass to less than two weeks,” said Amar.

The company is now wrapping up a €5 million ($5.2 million) investment, in cooperation with a French investment fund. It also relies on regional aid to set up the new production facilities, in order to offset some of the additional manufacturing costs in Europe, which is about 30% more expensive than Asia.

Alliaverre originally specialized in mirrors. It established itself in France in 2005 and entered the solar glass market in 2014. It has worked with customers such as Systovi and is currently in the testing and prequalification phase for other manufacturers such as Recom-Sillia or Voltec Solar. It is also in an R&D partnership with South Korea-based Q-Cells. In Europe, its largest market is Germany, followed by Italy and Poland.