Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian-based iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group, announced on Thursday it had purchased the majority share in High yield Energy Technologies (HyET) Group, which includes among its assets solar PV module manufacturing firm HyET Solar.
As well as the stake acquisition, FFI had also agreed to provide the majority share of financing for a planned expansion of HyET Solar’s solar PV manufacturing plant in The Netherlands.
The Dutch firm, which manufactures flexible solar modules, has plans to ramp up production capacity of its Powerfoil technology to 900 MW peak by the end of the year.
FFI chief executive officer Julie Shuttleworth said as well as pursuing expansion plans in The Netherlands, Fortescue would also look to establish a solar PV module manufacturing facility in Australia with the lightweight Powerfoil modules suitable for high-volume markets such as utility scale solar farms as well as high-value markets such as building integrated PV.
While no further details about the proposed manufacturing facility were made available, Shuttleworth said the project had already commenced.
“We have commenced the design study for a 1 GW Powerfoil factory in Australia and at this scale, we aim to rapidly drive costs down at a greater rate than is achievable with conventional solar PV technology,” she said.
If established the facility would dwarf the operations of Australia’s only existing solar PV module manufacturer, the South Australian-based Tindo Solar.
Tindo, which is set to commence operations at a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, has confirmed production capacity at the $11 million plant will be 150 MW per annum.
Shuttleworth said the acquisition of HyET, which also includes HyET Hydrogen among its assets, marks an important milestone in FFI’s vision to produce affordable green hydrogen, with the aim to supply 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen globally by 2030.
“FFI’s goal is to become the world’s leading, fully renewable energy and green products company,” she said.
“The addition of HyET Solar and HyET Hydrogen to our portfolio of FFI companies builds on our commitment to develop technologies needed to tackle emissions and global warming.”
FFI founder and Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest has previously announced ambitious plans to build one of the biggest renewable energy portfolios in the world, delivering more than 235 GW of renewable capacity,
“We are building a portfolio of renewable assets, energy-producing assets around the world,” he said.
Forrest said the HyET acquisition would help fast-track FFI’s wider ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
“Green energies need to be available at an industrial, global scale. We don’t have time to wait, we have to act now,” he said.
“The technologies of the HyET companies will help us reach that tipping point and the world will begin the journey in earnest to become zero-carbon.”
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