Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) has today initiated construction of the company's new production facility for granular polysilicon in Moses Lake, Washington, USA.
Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) has today initiated construction of the company's new production facility for granular polysilicon in Moses Lake, Washington, USA. The new plant will be built adjacent to REC's existing plant where the production is already focused on production of solar grade silicon (SOG) qualities.
In a groundbreaking ceremony Mr. Erik Thorsen, CEO broke ground to celebrate the start of the construction. 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 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. 20-25 % of all solar cells in the world are primarily made from REC's polysilicon. The market for solar energy has exploded in recent years, and the demand for polysilicon is significantly exceeding the supply.
The investment in the expansion of the facility is estimated at USD 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. In the construction phase there will be a peak of 900 construction workers in the area. The small city of Moses Lake has a population of 16 000. Speaker at yesterday's groundbreaking ceremony Janea Holmquist, State Representative, stated that the new plant is the largest expansion in Washington State to date.
The new REC plant will be extremely energy conservative: The solar cells made from the polysilicon coming out of the new plant will each year the cells are in operation (at least 20-25 years) generate eight times more electricity than REC Silicon consumed producing the raw material. The solar cells made from one year's production will generate enough power to electrify roughly 75-80,000 homes for 20-25 years. Over the new plant's life span (25-30 years) this will mean providing electricity to some 2,000,000 homes.
Yesterday's groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of the plant construction work. Mechanical completion of the plant is expected by the end of the first quarter 2008, with final completion and ramp-up of production in the third quarter of 2008.