REC Silicon plans restart of Moses Lake plant in Q4 2023

Workers at the Moses Lake polysilicon plant in Washington. Source: REC Silicon ASA.

May 27 (Renewables Now) - Norway-based silicon materials producer REC Silicon ASA (OSE:REC) today announced its intention to restart Fluid Bed Reactor (FBR) production at its Moses Lake polysilicon plant in Washington late next year.

The particular facility was shut down in 2019 because of the impacts of Chinese tariffs on US-made polysilicon, uncertain market conditions and reduced demand for REC Silicon’s solar-grade polysilicon. The possibility of reopening the plant emerged over the past few weeks as South Korea’s Hanwha Group, through Hanwha Solutions Corp (KRX:009830) and Hanwha Corp (KRX:000880), became the largest shareholder of REC Silicon and unveiled a multi-billion-dollar investment plan for the full solar value chain in the US.

On Friday, REC Silicon presented its first-quarter results and simultaneously shared its plan for Moses Lake. The company aims to restart production in the fourth quarter of 2023 and achieve 50% operation in the second quarter of the following year. Full operation is targeted for the final quarter of 2024.

At present, REC Silicon is executing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work for FBR upgrades at the site. It cautioned that the plan is in part dependent upon available markets for its products and the completion of projects to restart production.

“We are currently discussing supplying Hanwha Solutions with polysilicon and Hanwha Corporation with silane gas. These arrangements would allow REC Silicon the opportunity to focus on manufacturing excellence and to enhance market solutions through product development,“ said James A. May II, CEO of REC Silicon.

For the first quarter of 2022, the Norway-based firm reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of USD 3.6 million (EUR 3.3m), down from USD 4 million a year earlier, on revenues of USD 34.6 million, up from USD 28.1 million in the same period of 2021. Due to the idle state of the Moses Lake plant, the solar materials division contributed no revenues in January-March 2022 and an EBITDA loss of USD 2.8 million.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.931)

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