REC Silicon intends to reopen its polysilicon plant in Moses Lake

REC Silicon’s fluidized bed reactor polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington at dusk
In May REC Silicon wants to decide about restarting its fluidized bed reactor polysilicon plant in Moses Lake – Image: REC Silicon

As the Phase 1 trade agreement between the USA and China comes into force on February 15, U.S.-based polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon intends to restart its fluidized bed reactor (FBR) polysilicon plant in Moses Lake.

The plant with a solar-grade capacity of 20,000 metric tons was mothballed in July 2019 under the weight of prohibitive duties on polysilicon imports from the U.S. into China.

At the presentation of REC Silicon’s fourth quarter results on February 14, CEO Tore Torvund said he felt very confident that the company “will be back in the solar market with a decision in May and by the year-end, we will be fully ramped, back in full capacity.”

Torvund explained that China’s purchase commitment made under the Phase 1 agreement would override the recently extended Chinese duties on U.S. polysilicon imports. “It would be likely that they [i.e. the Chinese] decide to do it as a processing trade”, Torvund said. “That’s what they did back in 2014, that’s a well-known scheme.”

Regarding the potential sale of REC Silicon’s electronic-grade polysilicon plant in Butte, Torvund announced a decision “within the next month or two.”

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