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05.06.2006 00:00

Q-Cells AG to increase shareholding in EverQ to 33.33 % Major polysilicon supply contract and further expansion steps agreed

Thalheim, June 5, 2006 – Q-Cells AG (QCE; WKN 555866) announces the increase of its shareholding in EverQ GmbH, a joint venture with Evergreen Solar Inc., Marlboro, USA (Evergreen) and Renewable Energy Corporation ASA, Høvik, Norway (REC), from 21% to 33.33%. In addition, EverQ today released new polysilicon supply agreements that will allow the joint venture to dramatically increase its solar module production capacity. EverQ currently expects to ramp up its annual production capacity from about 30 MWp this year to approximately 300 MWp by 2010, possibly within the second half of 2009. These agreements are expected to become effective early in the third quarter of 2006. 

Long-Term Polysilicon Agreement 

The JV partners and EverQ have signed a binding memorandum of understanding under which EverQ will enter into a long-term polysilicon supply agreement with REC. The agreement calls for REC to supply EverQ with a total of 7,400 metric tons of granular polysilicon over seven years beginning in 2008. Shipments of approximately 400 metric tons are expected to begin in the second half of 2008 and increase to 1,200 metric tons annually by 2010, continuing through 2014. This is in addition to the 190 metric tons annually REC is supplying EverQ under an existing arrangement.  In addition, consistent with the existing joint venture documents, all three members of EverQ have agreed to become equal partners in the venture. Previously, Evergreen Solar owned 64%, Q-Cells 21% and REC 15% of the outstanding equity interests of EverQ.  

Near-Term Expansion 

EverQ will also sign interim silicon supply guarantees to immediately enable the next phase of expansion of its facility in Thalheim, Germany, prior to 2008. Under the terms of the expected agreements, Q-Cells and REC will each provide up to 150 metric tons of polysilicon supplies to EverQ as required from mid 2007 to mid 2008. With silicon secured, EverQ expects to begin the expansion of its Thalheim operations with the construction of a second integrated wafer, cell and module factory. Subject to final approval of investment grants, construction of this facility, with a capacity of approximately 50 MWp, is anticipated to commence in the third quarter of 2006. Production is expected to begin in the first half of 2007 and reach full capacity by year-end.