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REC reaches supply deal with solar panel maker

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | January 31, 2023 2:59 PM

MOSES LAKE — REC Silicon announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement to provide solar-grade silicon to South Korean solar panel maker Hanwha Solutions.

The deal with Hanwha, which owns a major stake in REC, will provide solar-grade silicon to the company’s Q Cell solar panel factory in Dalton, Georgia, according to REC Vice President for Fluid Bed Reactor Sales Chuck Sutton. In mid-January, Hanwha announced a $2.5-billion expansion of its Dalton production plant to 8.4 gigawatts from the current 1.7 gigawatts, according to a Hanwha press release.

“We’re looking at rebuilding the U.S. solar supply chain, and one of our goals is to support that,” Sutton said.

Sutton said REC still expects to restart production at the facility, which was slowly wound down and shuttered in 2019 following a lengthy trade dispute with China over solar panel tariffs, in late 2023 and reach full capacity by the end of 2024.

“We’re still on track,” Sutton said of REC’s goal to reopen later this year.

According to an REC statement issued Tuesday, the company has agreed to provide 100% of its solar-grade silicon output to Hanwha, with the price determined by a formula based on market indices with a premium given for U.S.-sourced, low-carbon material over the next 10 years. Details of the deal still need to be worked out, the statement said and will be announced when they are reached.

The company is currently advertising a number of open jobs in Moses Lake, including technicians, engineers and production operators.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com