Sandvika, Norway [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] REC Silicon’s new polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington (Silicon III), which is based on fluidized bed technology (FBR), started production early last week. The company had announced in February that the plant would start production by the end of March.
Production at Silicon III is expected to be ramped-up during the second quarter of 2009 and should be completed by the middle of the third quarter. Based on planned ramp-up, total polysilicon production estimates for the full year 2009 remain unchanged at 10-11,000 metric tons.
“We are satisfied to have reached this important milestone and to see that production is ramping up as expected in its initial stage. However, this is a large and complex chemical plant which implements innovative new technologies, and we should therefore expect to see some interruptions during the ramp-up phase,” says Erik Thorsen, president and CEO of the REC Group.
This facility is one of a number of polysilicon plants that are set to open this year. These openings could bring down the price of solar-grade silicon to a level that will significantly impact module prices and in effect installed costs, making solar energy a more cost effective alternative for businesses, utilities and consumers.