Of rice husks and solar panels
Spanish conglomerate Vallombrosa Trust is to build a new factory of solar panels in Flix (Tarragona) with a new technology that replaces silicon with rice husks, reducing the cost of production by up to 60%. The new facilities are to offer 80,000 square meters (861,112 sq. ft) and will add some 400 new jobs, according to the group’s president Maurizio Caroldi. The new plant will produce around 100 MW a year, about twice the current production in Spain.
The company intends to develop products covering the complete energy generation cycle: from solar grade silicon to ingots, cells and solar panels.
The factory is located in the Baix Ebre “county”, a region with a traditionally high production of rice, to assure a steady supply of the main raw material needed. The leap from rice to solar modules sounds certainly strange at first, but I have found on the web a corroboration of its viability in at least one separate Indian paper.