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Solar Power

REC Silicon to restart US polysilicon plant

by Matt Blois
June 16, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 22

REC Silicon plans to restart its polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington, next year in an effort to create a US-based supply chain for solar panels, stretching from raw materials to finished solar cells. REC is negotiating with a long-standing supplier, Ferroglobe, to secure a US-based source of silicon metal, the raw material used to make polysilicon. REC plans to sell its polysilicon to the solar panel manufacturer Q Cells, which has a factory in Georgia. REC shut down the Moses Lake plant in 2019, when tariffs made it uneconomical to sell into China’s large solar market. The company decided to reopen its facility after an investment of over $200 million from Q Cells’ parent company, South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions. REC says it’s also seeing encouraging signs from US policy makers. In June, the Biden administration announced that it would use the Defense Production Act to speed up US manufacturing of solar panel parts. REC also points to a bill that would give tax breaks to companies making components for solar panels in the US, though that bill hasn’t progressed since its introduction in the Senate about a year ago.


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