REC Silicon expanding polysilicon production and mulling 20,000MT JV in Saudi Arabia

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

REC Silicon is to expand polysilicon production at its Moses Lake facility and silane production at its Butte facility, while restarting Silane I production. The company is also undertaking a feasibility study to establish a 20,000MT joint venture polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia with IDEA Polysilicon.

FBR and silane expansions

REC Silicon has said it would expand capacity at its Moses Lake facility by 3,000MT using its next generation fluid bed reactor (FBR-B) technology to make semiconductor-grade granular polysilicon. The company said the expansion would be completed and start operations in the third quarter of 2016. 

The company also said that it would restart 3,000MT of silane gas production at Silane I as well as expand silane production by 1,200MT at its facility in Butte. The restart of Silane I, which was idled last year, is expected in the first quarter of 2016.

Demand for silane was said to be robust, due to strong demand in PV and flat panel display markets. Silane is used as a feed gas for Siemens-based polysilicon production.

REC Silicon said the expansions would cost an estimated US$115 million. 

Saudi Arabian JV 

Continuing its new strategy of partnering on FBR-based polysilicon expansions to limit capital expenditure exposure, REC Silicon also said it had signed an agreement to investigate the possible development of a 20,000MT FBR plant using its FBR-B technology in Saudi Arabia with local polysilicon start-up producer, IDEA Polysilicon. 

REC Silicon noted that the project development phase was expected to take 18 months and culminate in an investment decision some time in 2016. The company had proposed that it would hold a 25% equity interest in the proposed polysilicon plant. 

Possible funding for the facility was said to be coming through a combination of equity and loans via the Saudi Industrial Development Fund and with commercial banks. 

However, according to Johannes Bernreuter of polysilicon specialist market research firm, Bernreuter Research, IDEA Polysilicon had repeatedly postponed its original polysilicon production plans due to issues surrounding the selection of the plants construction bidders. 

“As early as April 2010, IDEA International announced it would build a polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia,” noted Bernreuter to PV Tech. “However, selection of one out of the four bidder consortia Schmid Silicon Technology/M+W Group, Centrotherm Sitec/Hanwha Engineering & Construction, GT Advanced Technologies/Samsung Engineering as well as Poly Plant Project/Chengda Engineering Corp. has repeatedly been postponed.”

“Obviously, IDEA has realised [that] it is not the right time to enter the polysilicon market now, with oversupply looming ahead. Second, a new entrant cannot make a dent against low-cost Chinese polysilicon producers with the established Siemens process, be it monosilane or trichlorosilane-based,” added Bernreuter, Hence, IDEA has possibly made a technology switch to fluidised bed reactor (FBR) through the liaison with REC Silicon.”

Bernreuter told PV Tech that he believed several uncertainties remained over the proposed project in Saudi Arabia.

“The Arabian Peninsula has not been a flourishing ground for polysilicon plants so far: the plants of Polysilicon Technology Co and Qatar Solar Technologies have significantly been delayed, UMG aspirant Silicor Materials has shied away from the location, and SunEdison seems to do so as well.”

Should the project be implemented, Bernreuter said it did not expect it to come on stream before 2019/2020. 

China JV update

REC Silicon also said that it had recognised special items of US$101 million related to the sale of its silane based FBR-B technology to its previously announced joint venture in China with Shaanxi Non-Ferrous Tian Hong New Energy Co.

Tore Torvund, CEO of REC Silicon said: “I am pleased that our FBR technology is being recognised as the leading polysilicon manufacturing technology which has resulted in the announcement to expand our Moses Lake facility, the Yulin JV in China, and a potential expansion in Saudi Arabia.”  

However, Bernreuter added: “REC Silicon still has to prove with its joint venture in China that both its FBR B technology will work in mass production and that a joint venture between western technology and mindset on the one side and local working and manufacturing culture on the other can be successful.”

Therefore the announcement of a small 3,000MT FBR B plant in the US could be regarded as the proving ground for both JVs and future JVs.

Financial results 

REC Silicon reported third quarter 2014 revenue of US$126.5 million and EBITDA excluding special items from continuing operations of US$44.9 million and a total EBITDA of US$145.9 million.

Slightly lower polysilicon sales volumes were offset by record silane gas sales volumes and resulted in revenues broadly in line with the previous quarter.

The company noted that its debt has been reduced by US$55 million to US$228 million, primarily due to the repayment of an NOK 196 million bond. 

The company reported profit from continuing operations of US$119.5 million in the third quarter, compared to US$24.6 million in the previous quarter, due primarily to higher EBITDA, special items, and positive net financial items, according to the company.

26 January 2022
Join this free webinar for our analysis of the growth of N-Type technology including; new capacity expansions and production output. We'll also be looking at the global manufacturing footprint with forecasts on how much product will be made outside of China this year and which companies are driving technology change across the crystalline silicon value chain.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.

Read Next

January 24, 2022
Italy’s government will limit the windfall profits of some feed-in tariff-backed solar PV projects that have been able to benefit from rising energy prices.
January 24, 2022
More than 260 companies in the US clean energy sector are demanding urgent action on the US$1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act, claiming that US$2 billion is being lost in economic activity every month the long-awaited bill is delayed.
January 24, 2022
Major polysilicon and wafer producer GCL-Poly Energy Holdings confirmed the completion of its granular silicon facility and, in a major reversal of last year’s fortunes, is expecting RMB5.5 billion (US$850 million) in net profit for 2021, according to a company statement.
January 24, 2022
Polysilicon producer Daqo New Energy is expecting a five-fold increase in net profit from its Xinjiang subsidiary as it continues to progress expansion plans.
January 24, 2022
Renewables developer and operator Leeward Renewable Energy has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with telecom company Verizon for a portfolio of four under-development solar and wind plants in the US with a combined capacity of 640MW.
January 24, 2022
The average cost of forecasting errors in the US is lower than previously thought at less than US$1/MWh, according to a study by Berkeley Lab that employed a new, publicly available method to examine the practice.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
January 26, 2022
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal