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SunEdison Inc. has signed an agreement with the Public Investment Fund of the Saudi Arabian government and the Saudi Arabian Investment Co. (Sanabil Investments) to jointly fund a feasibility study for the establishment of a solar photovoltaic manufacturing capability at Wa'ad Al Shammal in the kingdom.

SunEdison says the proposed polysilicon module production project would support the growth of the solar energy industry in Saudi Arabia, which the company views as a promising emerging market for PV power technology. SunEdison says the deal furthers its goal of developing downstream solar business capabilities. The cost of the project was estimated at $6.4 billion.

The production complex would incorporate SunEdison's high-pressure silane fluidized bed reactor polysilicon, and continuous Czochralski crystal ingot technology and equipment to enable solar wafer, cell and module manufacturing. If the project proceeds as planned, production would begin in 2017 and eventually ramp up to an annual capacity of 3 GW.

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals says it would provide the required quantities of natural gas for the complex, with the Saudi Electrical Co. providing the needed electricity.

"We anticipate substantial growth of solar PV within the kingdom and the region," says Ahmad Chatila, CEO of SunEdison. "This project will support that growth, and the growth aspirations of SunEdison and our Saudi partners."

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