OCIM Sdn Bhd (OCIMSB), the Malaysian unit of South Korean polysilicon producer OCI, has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with South Korean solar manufacturer Hanwha Solutions, a unit of Hanwha, for the supply of polysilicon.
The South Korean company did not reveal the amount of raw materials that will be provided, but said the supply contract has a value of approximately $1.2 billion.
“With this MOU, OCIMSB is able to secure an additional stable buyer of Poly-Si for PV. Hanwha Solutions, targeting the low-carbon footprint solar module market, which is expected to significantly expand in the United States and Europe, can secure a stable supply of low-carbon Poly-Si,” OCI said, noting that OCIMSB produces polysilicon via hydroelectric power generation in Malaysia.
Carbon footprint rules for solar modules eligible to secure public incentives are currently in force in South Korea. These rules are similar to those applied in France, where large-scale solar tenders take low-carbon manufacturing into account, as well as the price that developers agree to accept for the power generated. South Korea, like France, has extensive nuclear power generation capacity, which will aid the low-carbon efforts of domestic solar panel manufacturers.
According to OCI, OCIMSB will reach a total polysilicon capacity of 35,000 metric tons at the end of June. The Malaysian plant resumed manufacturing in July 2020. The group raised the plant's capacity from 10,000 metric tons to 27,000 metric tons between 2018 and 2019. OCI's total annual polysilicon output – including its factory in Gunsan, South Korea – will reach 38,000 metric tons at the end of June.
Hanwha Solutions recently agreed to buy a minority stake in Norway-based polysilicon manufacturer REC Silicon ASA. The move is intended at securing low-carbon photovoltaic materials amid growing demand for renewable energy in the United States, Hanwha Solutions said in a statement. In the United States, REC Silicon owns and operates a polysilicon factory in Moses Lake, Washington, and another facility in Butte, Montana.
*The article was updated to reflect that the order is worth $1.2 billion.
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