Croatian Company to Compete against Elon Musk’s Tesla

Total Croatia News

Latest solar cell technology is coming to Sisak.

Ten years since he introduced Croatia to semiconductor industry by opening a plant in Sisak, Matt Sertić, a Croat who has a successful career in the United States, now sees a new challenge in trying to compete against famed entrepreneur Elon Musk, reports on January 5, 2017.

Sisak, which has lately been more known for bad economic news concerning local ironworks and oil refinery, by the end of this year will host a plant for the production of solar cells, which will be an integral part of Sertić’s new solar business which he has recently launched in the United States through the Sunceco company.

Milan Sladojević, director of Applied Ceramics Croatia, says they have found several industrial facilities which are suitable for the construction of the new plant. “Holiday season has slowed us down somewhat, but the owner will soon make a strategic decision, as soon as he personally comes to Croatia. We want everything to be ready for the start of production by the end of 2017”, says Sladojević.

Sertić’s Sunceco is in many ways a direct competitor to solar made by Tesla. Sunceco produces solar panels, develops solutions for these panels to be installed on roofs and in other special facilities, including solar power plants. In addition, the company produces a wide range of battery systems, from industrial to household batteries, like those recently presented by Elon Musk. “In the first phase of the project, we plan to have a highly-automated production line for solar cells, which will be able to form different structures and thus adapt to individual clients”, says Sladojević.

He adds that the new plant would employ twenty experts, bringing the number of workers which Sertić employs in Sisak to 120. Applied Ceramics’s plant currently employs about a hundred experts who have been educated in the United States. Sladojević explains that the investment plan in Sisak for this year was even more ambitious and that their goal was to open a total of hundred of new jobs, but unfortunately they did not find an adequate target for acquisition. “There is a demand for these products in Croatia, Germany, in fact the whole of European Union, and we see it also as a good export product for the US market”, says Sladojević.

He points out that the initial interest in their products has been demonstrated by hotels on the Adriatic coast and adds that in Germany some of solar power plants are nearing their twentieth anniversary of operations, which means that they will have to be overhauled soon. Sladojević says that, due to the popularity of solar energy, there are more and more large solar projects in Croatia. “The development of this investment will in part depend on what kind of new economic policies will US President Donald Trump advocate, since there is a possibility that the market will turns towards raising tariffs and to protectionism, and we see our potential precisely in exporting to that market”, says Sladojević.

He adds that Sisak is a good location to build such a facility due to its industrial tradition and local infrastructure, and the fact that the town is located on the Sava river. Also, Croatia is a part of the European Union which means that the production has to follow EU quality standards.

Speaking about Applied Ceramics, the first business which Sertić launched in Sisak, Sladojević says that the company is developing according to plan. “In 2016, Applied Ceramics had income of 36.7 million kuna, with a growth in profitability”, adds Sladojević. In Sisak, Applied Ceramics works on components made of ceramic, quartz and sapphire. Their biggest customers are companies from the semiconductor industry in the EU and the United States, and their products are used in medical, military and space industries, in the production of lasers, mining, nuclear power plants and even in the automotive industry.


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