OCI raises capacity of US solar panel factory from 210 MW to 1 GW


South Korean polysilicon producer OCI announced it will raise the annual production capacity at its US solar module factory in San Antonio, Texas, operated by its Mission Solar Energy unit, from 210 MW to 1 GW.

OCI said this expansion plan will require an investment of around $40 million.

Mission Solar Energy is aiming to start commercial operations of its new production lines by the end of 2023. The manufacturing facility, which currently produces only panels for residential applications, will also manufacture M10 solar panels for commercial and large-scale projects.

“OCI plans to preemptively respond to the growth of the US solar market, which is expected to see increasing demand thanks to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA),” the Korean company said in a statement. “OCI wants to actively respond to the growing demand for modules in the US by expanding its facility and establishing a stable supply chain by procuring polysilicon at its Malaysian plant.”

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OCI added that it also wanted to expand its downstream business in the US solar market, which it entered in 2012 by constructing the Alamo Project, the world's largest solar power plant at the time. The company said it was currently developing a total of five solar power generation projects and one storage facility in Texas through its US subsidiary, OCI Solar Power.

OCIM Sdn Bhd (OCIMSB), the Malaysian unit of OCI, is currently operating a 35,000 MT polysilicon factory in the Samalaju Industrial Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. The group's total annual polysilicon output – including its 3,000-MT factory in Gunsan, South Korea – amounts to 38,000 MT. The company shut down its second Korean plant in Gunsan in February 2020 due to downward price pressure in the South Korean polysilicon industry.

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