REC Breaks Ground on Polysilicon Project in the U.S.

The effort to curtail the silicon shortage received another boost with the recent groundbreaking of a new production facility for granular polysilicon in Moses Lake, Washington. Construction is officially under way of Renewable Energy Corporation’s (REC) new facility, to be built adjacent to its existing plant where the production is already focused on production of solar grade silicon (SOG) qualities.

The new plant is based on the proprietary technology that REC has developed for production of granular solar grade polysilicon (SOG). The plant will add approximately 6,500 metric tons (MT) to REC’s polysilicon production capacity, totaling close to 13,000 MT. SOG is used as raw material in the production of solar cells. Almost a quarter (20-25%) of all solar cells in the world are primarily made from REC’s polysilicon. The market for solar energy has risen sharply in recent years, and the demand for polysilicon significantly exceeds supply. The investment in the expansion of the facility is estimated at US$ 600 million. For the local community of Moses Lake, the REC investment means 100 new jobs, where REC already employs 250 local people in its existing plant. The new REC plant will be energy efficient, states the company release. The solar cells made from the polysilicon coming out of the new plant will generate eight times more electricity than REC Silicon consumed producing the raw material, over 20 to 25 years. With construction under way, final completion and ramp-up of production is expected in the third quarter of 2008.
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