REC Group mulls French module gigafactory

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Norwegian solar manufacturer REC Group has told pv magazine it is considering establishing a 2 GW heterojunction module factory in France.

“After the successful launch of the revolutionary REC Alpha solar panel at Intersolar Europe in May 2019, the REC Group announced in August 2019 that the pioneering international solar company intends to increase its production capacity by 600 MW, in heterojunction technology for Alpha, with several gigawatts [of production capacity], in cooperation with a potential strategic partner,” an REC Group spokesperson told pv magazine France.

The Norwegian manufacturer said it was considering partners and sites worldwide, including in Europe, since “Europe is traditionally an important market for REC.”

The manufacturer said a 2 GW plant in Sarreguemines, in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, was among the options on the table.

The revelation came shortly after REC Group strategic partner Meyer Berger spoke of similar plans, albeit in Germany, with the Swiss solar equipment supplier evaluating a gigafactory in North Rhine-Westphalia which could supply a vast floating solar project on the Hambach open-cast coal mine. Those ideas were revealed by Meyer Burger MD Gunter Erfurt in a German radio interview.

With plans being formulated for gigawatt scale fabs on both banks of the Rhine, Xavier Daval – president of the solar commission of French industry body the Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables – yesterday made his pitch to pv magazine pressing the claims for France to host the first module gigafactory in Europe and for the industry to avoid pitching two such facilities into immediate direct competition.