REC Silicon keeps the lights on at polysilicon plant in Moses Lake

REC Silicon’s fluidized bed reactor polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington at night
Due to a low utilization rate of 25%, REC Silicon’s polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington is making losses – Image: REC Silicon

U.S.-based polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon has stopped speculation that its plant in Moses Lake, Washington could be closed.

“We don’t intend to shut down our Moses Lake operations. We will continue to operate at [a capacity utilization rate of] 25%,“ CEO Tore Torvund said at the presentation of his company’s third quarter results on October 24.

Mainly due to low solar-grade polysilicon demand and prices, REC Silicon recorded an EBITDA loss of $6.1 million in Q3. CFO James May expects a cash burn rate of $3 to 4 million per quarter over the next five quarters, reducing the company’s cash balance from $41 million at the end of Q3 to a range of $26 to 21 million by the end of 2019.

CEO Torvund indicated that negotiations would start in the trade conflict between the U.S. and China after the U.S. mid-term elections in early November. Hopes for a solution, however, were always disappointed in the past.

Torvund also reported that REC Silicon has been approached by 20 battery companies interested in procuring monosilane or granular polysilicon for replacing graphite with silicon as an anode material. This could be part of REC’s business within two or three years, he said.

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