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REC closes down Norwegian solar wafer production

Norway's Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (REC) is assessing a permanent closedown of 45% of its solar wafer production capacity in Norway due to weak market conditions – 700 jobs could go.

By Kari Williamson

Based on the combination of weak market conditions and prospects of a “significant” negative cash flow, REC says it is considering permanent closedown of production capacity at its oldest multicrystalline solar wafer plants at Herøya, the multicrystalline solar wafer plant in Glomfjord and the solar cell plant in Narvik – representing 775 MW of annual solar wafer capacity and 180 MW of solar cell capacity.

Approximately 700 employees are expected to be affected by the potential shutdowns.

Operations will continue at the newest multicrystalline solar wafer plants at Herøya (650 MW annual capacity) and the monocrystalline plant in Glomfjord (300 MW annual capacity).

Lower-cost countries

REC is continuing operations in lower-cost countries, however, with the integrated solar wafer, cell and module facility in Singapore (700 MW annual module capacity) and the polysilicon facilities in the US (19.000 MT annual polysilicon capacity) continuing at full capacity.

"This is an unfortunate, but necessary step in the current market environment. We are mindful of the impact the potential closedowns will have on the affected employees and the local communities in Norway. This is therefore not a decision we take lightly. We are currently working hard to regain the competitiveness of our remaining Norwegian operations. In this challenging market conditions, I am pleased to see that the good development in our Singapore wafer, cell and module production and in our US polysilicon production. This gives us a foundation for the future,” says Ole Enger, President & CEO.

REC will assess and present its estimates for costs and write-downs in relation to the restructuring of the production plants in Norway in connection with the publication of the third quarter results on 26 October.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity