In another sign of the challenging market conditions across the solar PV manufacturing value chain, REC Wafer has decided to temporarily ramp down about 35% of its production capacity. The reduction will affect approximately 180 employees, according to the company.
“We have seen an increasingly difficult market so far this year and need to take measures to optimize our capacity utilization and secure flexibility in regards to timing of product deliveries,” said executive VP Ingelise Arntsen. “Although we temporarily take out a part of our capacity, we follow the market development closely and are making sure that we stay prepared to increase production on short notice.”
Since REC Wafer has not yet decided on the timing of a restart, the company said that it is not prepared to indicate the expected effect of the temporary reduction in capacity utilization on the overall annual production of wafers in 2009.
The company also stated that it is also too early to quantify the financial consequences for REC Wafer, and that continued production at full capacity would have required external purchases of polysilicon at spot prices that are higher than the price levels in the long-term polysilicon supply contracts.
The company previously announced that REC Silicon’s polysilicon production should increase when commercial production from the new Silicon III resumes in 3Q09.