REC scales back PV production; announces lay-offs

24. May 2011 | Top News, Markets & Trends, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Becky Stuart

The Renewable Energy Corporation ASA (REC) has said it will scale back its photovoltaic production activities due to weak market demand. Around 500 employees are expected to be affected.

REC is intending to halt production at its solar cell plant in Narvik, Norway (pictured)

REC is intending to halt production at its solar cell plant in Narvik, Norway. Image: REC.

The Norway-based solar company has said that it will reduce production of its solar cells, wafers and modules as of July 1 in "response to the current market conditions". It added that it expects its second quarter operating results to be reduced to a level "well below" the first quarter of the year.

In a statement, the company said: "REC  will initiate a process with the trade unions, with the intention to halt production at the oldest wafer plants at Herøya, Norway, and at the solar cell plant in Narvik, Norway."

As such, wafer production is expected to be reduced by 125 megawatts (MW) in the third quarter of this year, which says the company, represents 30 percent of its Norwegian wafer capacity. Meanwhile, it says that cell and module production will be reduced by approximately 50 MW in the same period.

Roughly 300 employees at REC’s  Herøya site and 200 employees in Narvik, will also reportedly be affected through "temporary" lay-offs.

The company added that REC-branded modules will not be manufactured under contract by third parties in the third quarter.

In terms of the future, the statement continued: "Subject to market conditions, REC will evaluate the appropriate production levels going forward. REC is therefore at this time not prepared to indicate the expected effect of the reduction in capacity utilization on the annual production volumes in 2011."

REC's polysilicon production in the U.S. and wafer, cell and module production in Singapore are not expected to be not be affected by these measures.

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