Hanwha Invests in US Silicon Production

Hanwha Ups Stake In REC Silicon; Says US Polysilicon Fab To Be Back In Business From 2023

Hanwha Invests in US Silicon Production

Hanwha’s strategic investment in REC Silicon brings to it a stable, secure supply of polysilicon produced locally in the US, a market where Made in America voices are getting more vocal in the solar market. Pictured is REC’s silicon fab. (Photo Credit: REC Silicon ASA)

  • Aker Horizons has sold its 4.67% stake in REC Silicon to Hanwha for $44 million
  • It takes Hanwha’s shareholding in REC Silicon to 21.34% making it the largest shareholder of the polysilicon producer
  • Hanwha said this acquisition will enable the company to restart Moses Lake fab as early as 2023, which will provide it with steady local supply of polysilicon for its modules
  • It also plans to invest several billions of dollars in a multi-phase manner across the full solar value chain, from polysilicon to modules

South Korean solar module maker Hanwha Solutions Corporation and Hanwha Corporation has expanded its shareholding in US polysilicon producer REC Silicon ASA as it acquires 4.67% additional stake from Aker Horizons, paving the way for Hanwha to implement a ‘multi-phase, multi-billion dollar investment plan across the full solar value chain from polysilicon to modules’.

It explained, “Having secured a stable supply of key raw materials for photovoltaic panel production, the company intends to follow up with subsequent investments in virtually every sub-sector of the domestic solar manufacturing industry, ranging from key raw materials like polysilicon to fully assembled solar modules.”

With the REC Silicon investment, it now has access to the company’s Moses Lake, Washington fab with an annual capacity of 16,000 tons polysilicon that runs on hydroelectric power, along with the Butte, Montana plant that produces 2,000 tons annually for semiconductors.

The Moses Lake plant has been shut for several months now due to trade disputes between the US and China, according to REC Silicon management. The company tried reviving the same through a deal with a new solar manufacturing company called Violet Energy, but the deal didn’t materialize.

Now, Hanwha said it expects to secure polysilicon for solar power through REC Silicon as early as 2023.

The company already operates a 1.7 GW solar module fab in Georgia through its solar panel production arm Q CELLS, claiming it accounts for nearly 20% of the total solar module production capacity of the US.

Hanwha said the $44 million deal will make the company the largest shareholder of REC Silicon with 21.34%. It already holds a 16.67% share in the polysilicon maker (see Hanwha Picks Up Stake In REC Silicon). Aker said it will sell 70.1 million remaining shares to Hanwha for NOK 20 ($2.3) per share and will no longer own any shares or hold any voting rights in the company.

“Through prompt and strategic decision-making, the company will strengthen the cost competitiveness of solar products and actively respond to the growing demand for US-made products,” stated Hanwha as it sees the US as a significant market to expand investment, considering favorable policy environment and positive talk about the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act (SEMA) (see US Solar Manufacturers Write To Biden).

As per the arrangement, REC Silicon said its current Board Chairman Kristian Røkke will step down and new board members will be announced later.

Hanwha Group was already active in polysilicon production in its home country but decided to step out when prices for solar silicon material bottomed. However, Rethink Energy in a recent report already speculated the company might come back (see Enough Polysilicon For 1,000 GW PV By 2030).

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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