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South Africa: Anglo Coal invests in solar technology company

Anglo Coal has ventured into the renewable energy market, by acquiring a 5.3% equity stake in Johanna Solar Technology GmbH (JST), a German photovoltaic technology company.
“Anglo Coal‘s interest in JST forms part of a wider involvement in promoting and developing carbon mitigation and offset technologies, as part of coal’s strategic response to meeting the environmental Green Challenge. Additionally, our involvement in JST also demonstrates support for cleaner energy research in South Africa” says Roger Wicks, Head of Energy in Anglo American plc.

In the coming months, JST, which is based in Brandenburg an der Havel near Berlin, will begin constructing, what will potentially be the most advanced plant for the production of solar modules based on a new thin-film technology. The EU and Germany in particular has in place market and other related incentives, which makes viable the introduction of this new technology.

Production, with a target capacity of 30 megawatts, is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2007, and is anticipated to expand to an annual 60 megawatts facility by 2009. A total of 180 jobs will be created in the first phase of expansion alone, and there is potential over the medium-term for the construction of a similar technology plant in South Africa and other geographies.

This innovative photovoltaic technology, which was developed by the University of Johannesburg, has been licensed to JST – copper, indium, gallium, sulphide and selenium metals are used to produce the photovoltaic cells. Unlike regular solar modules, the new panels do not require the use of silicon, an increasingly rare and expensive raw material.

“It is currently the most powerful thin-film technology in the world,” says Jeroen Haberland, managing director of JST.

Additional information:
News date: 28/06/2006

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