Hanwha Solutions makes $160.47 million investment in REC Silicon to secure low-carbon polysilicon in US
This investment aims to secure the supply of key photovoltaic raw materials to meet growing US consumer demand for domestically manufactured products. Additional investments are expected once US Congress passes the SEMA bill.
[Seoul, South Korea, November 18, 2021] Hanwha Solutions (or “the Company”) today announced a strategic investment in polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon ASA (“REC Silicon”) to secure low-carbon photovoltaic materials amid growing demand for renewable energy in the United States.
The Company, which operates total energy solution provider Qcells, said it agreed to purchase a 16.67% stake in REC Silicon for $160.47 million, becoming a co-leading shareholder of the polysilicon manufacturer with Aker Horizons, a Norway-headquartered investment firm focused on renewable energy.
The announcement will pave the way for the Company to make further investments throughout the solar value chain in the US, which anticipates further significant policy support when the US Congress passes the Solar Energy Manufacturing Act (SEMA) before year’s end.
REC Silicon operates two polysilicon manufacturing facilities in the US, with an annual production capacity of 20,000 MT: 18,000 at Moses Lake, Washington, and 2,000 at Butte, Montana. Using hydropower-based clean energy, REC Silicon can produce low-cost polysilicon without emitting greenhouse gases.
Hanwha Solutions weighing further US investment
This investment is intended as the next step in the creation of a comprehensive U.S. solar value chain, from production of polysilicon to fully assembled solar modules.
“Most US-based polysilicon manufacturers have halted their production for solar-grade polysilicon, including REC Silicon at Moses Lake. Signing SEMA into law and leveraging smart trade and other federal policies will boost solar manufacturing in the United States,” said a Hanwha Solutions spokesperson. “Capitalizing on our expertise in polysilicon production, we will reopen the Moses Lake facility and jumpstart REC Silicon production in the US.”
With the Biden administration pledging to create a net-zero economy by 2050 and use a whole-of-government approach to invest in critical manufacturing sectors like solar, the Company expects its investment in REC Silicon will help to meet the dramatically growing demand for solar panels. The administration has announced that it hopes to increase solar’s share of electricity generation in the United States to 40 percent by 2035.
The initiative will gain a further boost if the US congress passes its SEMA legislation by the end of the year. Designed to provide tax credits for solar manufacturers in the US, the bill can provide price competitiveness for those producing solar panels domestically.
Given that the Company operates a solar module factory in Dalton, Georgia with an annual production capacity of 1.7 GW, the passage of the legislation will boost the Company’s investments into a comprehensive solar value chain, from the production of polysilicon through to fully assembled solar modules.
Taking the legislation as an opportunity, the Company seeks to maintain its top market share in the U.S. According to the latest Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables report, Qcells has a 22% market share in the U.S. commercial solar module market, marking two consecutive years as No.1 supplier. Qcells has also maintained its leading position in the US residential solar markets for three consecutive years, with a 25% market share to-date in 2021. The Company is also a leading supplier to the utility solar sector.
“Expanding renewable energy is inevitable, given the global efforts to combat climate change,” added the Hanwha Solutions spokesperson. “Focusing on the US, Europe and other dynamic solar markets, we will expand our investments into the regions with a growing demand for renewable energy.”
Qcells is one of the world’s largest and most recognized photovoltaic manufacturers for its high-performance, high-quality solar cells and modules. It is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea (Global Executive HQ) and Thalheim, Germany (Technology & Innovation HQ) with its diverse international manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Malaysia, China, and South Korea. Qcells offers the full spectrum of photovoltaic products, applications and solutions, from cells and modules to kits to systems to large-scale solar power plants. Through its growing global business network spanning Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East, Qcells provides excellent services and long-term partnerships to its customers in the utility, commercial, governmental and residential markets. For more information, visit: www.q-cells.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates" and similar statements. Among other things, the quotations from management in this press release and Qcells’ operations and business outlook, contain forward-looking statements. Such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, Qcells does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Hanwha Q CELLS GmbH
Jochen Endle, Ian Clover
Tel: +49 (0)3494 6699 10121