Hanwha to invest in REC Silicon to restart U.S. polysilicon production for solar

Hanwha Solutions, the Korean company behind the solar brand Hanwha Q CELLS, plans to invest $160.47 million for a 16.67% stake in REC Silicon ASA, the company that owns the REC Silicon polysilicon plant for solar power in Moses Lake, Washington. Hanwha, who supports the 1.7-GW Q CELLS solar panel assembly plant in Dalton, Georgia, said this move will secure low-carbon PV materials for the US supply chain.

The investment in REC Silicon will enable Hanwha to make further investments in the US solar value chain, subject to Congressional approval of the Solar Energy Manufacturing Act (SEMA), which provides tax credits to solar producers.

REC Silicon operates two polysilicon manufacturing facilities in the United States, with an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons: 18,000 in Moses Lake, Washington, and 2,000 in Butte, Montana. Using hydropower-based clean energy, REC Silicon can produce polysilicon cheaply without emitting greenhouse gases.

The Moses Lake facility has been inactive in recent years as it has been priced out of the Chinese market and there are currently no solar cell manufacturers in the United States.

Learn more about the battle for polysilicon and solar energy production between the United States and China here.

“Most US-based polysilicon manufacturers have stopped producing solar grade polysilicon, including REC Silicon in Moses Lake. Signing SEMA into law and leveraging smart commerce and other federal policies will increase solar production in the United States,” said a Hanwha Solutions spokesperson. “By leveraging our expertise in polysilicon manufacturing, we will reopen the Moses Lake facility and jump-start U.S. manufacturing of REC Silicon”

There is currently no further information on where the solar grade polysilicon production at Moses Lake will be converted to solar cells for use by US solar module assemblers.

See a list of solar panel manufacturers in the US here.

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