Siberia | Finance, business | Energy, utilities

Rusnano shuts down its Nitol poly-Si project in Siberia

7 Nov '13
Rusnano, Russias largest nanotech company, has shut down Nitol, its poly-Si production project in the Irkutsk region in Siberia which has brought multibillion ruble loss, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported.

According to Anatoly Chubais, the president of Rusnano, Rusnanos decision to close the Nitol project in the town of Usolye Sibirskoye has been backed by the Russian Government.

However, Rusnano will continue to tap into renewable energy technologies and is expected to launch a new project in Usolye to manufacture components for solar generation equipment. This will be a focus on much deeper processing rather than just making raw material which Nitol did, Mr. Chubais said.

The decision to start a new endeavor stems from the Russian Governments recently adopted seven-year strategy aimed at supporting renewable energy in this country. The $230m effort is expected to have an IRR of 31%, Rusnano reckons.

The new project is open for Russias leading government-owned movers and shakers such as VEB Bank to join. Mr. Chubais also mentioned plans to attract a strategic technology partner, most probably from China. The project will be funded through both equity and debt, and Rusnano expects to own at least 30% and invest a minimum of $39m.

Rusnano and the Nitol international group of investors started its Usolye Sibirsky Silicon (USS) in 2009 to produce polysilicon (poly-Si), an important material for solar energy and microelectronics. An estimated $615m has been spent. However, global oversupply of polysilicon led to the plummeting of its prices from $400/kilo at the start of the project to $16/kilo by 2013, and Rusnano found no ways of shoring up the sinking ship.
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