Norwegian polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon has confirmed plans to restart polysilicon production at its Moses Lake factory in the US.
Production of polysilicon using fluidised bed reactor (FBR) technology is expected to start again during the fourth quarter of 2023, ramping to full capacity during 2024, announced James May, CEO at REC Silicon during the company’s Q1 2022 results disclosure.
The company is currently executing engineering, procurement and construction for FBR upgrades, with a target to reach 50% operational activity during Q2 2024.
“The restart of production is a direct result of Hanwha’s commitment to REC Silicon,” added May.
Last November, South Korean chemical company Hanwha Solutions Corporation bought 16.67% of shares of REC Silicon from Aker Horizons with the intention to restart the production of polysilicon in the US.
Furthermore, earlier this year it bought Aker Horizons’ remaining stake and said the acquisition was a “prelude to Hanwha’s larger ambition of rebuilding the full US solar supply chain”.
Hanwha’s commitment to REC Silicon has been shown with a large cash increase in Q1, with an equity issue of US$109.5 million which will help finance the relaunch of the US facility, with May expecting more capital needed in the future without giving any exact amount at the moment.
“We recognize the current economic environment and disruption to the global supply chains, represent certain risks regarding potential cost increases and delays in scheduling. However, we have formulated our estimates and plans with these potential constraints in mind and believe that we can successfully execute our plans according to the schedule that I’ve just announced,” May added.
As production is set to restart next year, REC Silicon is currently in discussion with Hanwha Solutions to provide its polysilicon manufactured at the Moses Lake facility, said May during a conference call.
The Moses Lake facility had seen its operations reduced in 2019 at the height of the US-China trade war with discussions to restart it already floating last year, before Hanwha’s entrance.