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REC closes remaining Norwegian solar production

The Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) is closing the remaining 650 MW multicrystalline wafer plant at Herøya, Norway, citing continued negative operating results due to falling wafer prices and increased competition from China.

By Kari Williamson

Production will end during the second quarter affecting 460 employees. REC says it will “explore alternatives for the facility” over the next few months.

Over the last few years, REC has moved more and more of its production to low-cost countries, and the closing of the last remaining facility in Norway, also marks the exit of all manufacturing in Europe for the company.

President and CEO, Ole Enger, comments: "The solar market has changed dramatically over the last few years. Despite solid demand growth, overcapacity continues to negatively affect the wafer prices. Our organisation at Herøya has worked very hard to reduce cost and improve quality. Over the last two years annual cost reductions have exceeded 25%, even though the cost position was held back by long-term contracts with uncompetitive suppliers.

“However, with extreme competition, especially from China, and market prices down to one third of the prices one year ago, these cost reductions have unfortunately not been sufficient. Significant continued losses were to be expected from the wafer operations at Herøya going forward. We therefore have no choice but to discontinue our operations in Norway."

Three of four employee representatives in the REC Board of Directors voted against the closedown decision.

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