REC opens officially in Singapore

The news follows yesterday’s announcement that the facility will reach full nameplate capacity towards year-end.

REC states that the facility was built 20 percent below budget, at 2.5 billion Singapore dollars (around USD$1.9 billion/€1.3 billion). Initially, it says volumes of 740 megawatts (MWs) for wafers, 550 MW for cells, and 590 MW for modules were announced. However, the new capacity target for modules is 800 MW in 2012, representing an increase of 35 percent compared to the design capacity.

It adds that some 200 sites were considered before Singapore was selected as the location for the state of the art complex, which covers 321,000 square meters. Some 8,000 workers and 17 million man-hours were reportedly required. The prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, has said that when fully operational, the facility will provide 1,700 high quality jobs.

A number of environmental features have been incorporated, which led to the facility receiving the Gold Green Mark Award for environmental performance, ISO 9001. There are also wastewater recycling and energy recovery systems in place.

Set in sprawling grounds, the wafer-cell-module integration has also been planned rather seamlessly, as seen on the tour of the plant taken by pv magazine.

As reported yesterday, the production costs for the facility are less than earlier REC plants, targeting a full cost of 97 Euro cents per watt by the end of 2011, including research and development and sales and marketing costs.

It has also been reported that the facility already “exceeds expectations”, having produced the one millionth module ahead of plan, and before reaching full capacity. REC explains that the one millionth module is part of its Peak Energy Series, which is the first product manufactured at Tuas.

The facility is said to produce more than 190,000 modules per month with a competitive cell efficiency target of 16.8 percent by 2011.

President and CEO of REC Ole Enger also gave his two cents on the status of solar in Singapore. He stated that Singapore has been very wise in its approach towards solar. "They have done it very purposefully. You need to base the future policy-wise on analyzed data and the gathering of this data can be seen via the presence of REC and SERIS," he added.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, joined by Leo Yip, chairman of the Economic Development Board and some 500 guests attended the opening, which was followed by a plant tour.

The corporation says the project represents the largest single investment it has ever made, in addition to being the largest clean tech investment in Singapore, and the third largest foreign green field investment by a Norwegian company.

More in depth details and interviews by pv magazine with REC heads will be coming up soon.