According to a report by Bloomberg, Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), advised that it was extending the shutdown of its production plants in Norway until the end of 2011. The company is going through what many other European solar companies have encountered: a lower demand for wafers and cells, which has yet to regain its foothold.
Eirik Vegem Dahle, an analyst at Pareto Securities in Oslo, commented to Bloomberg on REC’s decision, noting that the shutdown is “in line with probably everyone’s expectations. They are very, very high on the cost-curve on these old wafer assets in Norway. It’s unlikely they will ever come on-stream again.”
The standstill on REC’s Norwegian production represents nearly 45% of the company’s wafer output capacity in the country. Plants affected by the halt include the Heroeya, Glomfjord and Narvik factories. However, REC noted that its silicon production in the US and its wafer, cell and module output in Singapore would continue to run at full capacity.
Bloomberg pointed to a July 19 statement made by REC CEO, Ole Enger, where he revealed that prices for wafers and cells would need to improve by 20% to 30% in order for the company to reopen its plants. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data, prices for 6-inch multicrystalline silicon wafers have produced a 14% loss this quarter, while multicrystalline silicon cell prices decreased 13%.