Imports from South Korea and the U.S. dwindled, year-on-year, ensuring Germany’s Wacker and the Malysian unit of Korean company OCI will supply the bulk of the world’s non-Chinese solar polysilicon this year.
The 275,000 metric tons of annual polysilicon production facilities pushed out of the industry by the expansion of big Chinese producers is more than double the capacity lost in the last great poly market shake-out, between 2010 and 2013.
The Norwegian polysilicon maker has been been frozen out of the Chinese solar market by political tensions between Beijing and the U.S. and mothballed its Washington State production line last year. However, two recent business agreements could change all that.
But Israeli inverter company Solaredge and Indian engineering, procurement and construction services provider Sterling and Wilson have both offered hope of a recovery in Europe as Chinese glass producer Xinyi said it kept the furnaces going throughout the worst of the pandemic.
The Norwegian company mothballed its Washington State facility more than a year ago and is now reliant on semiconductor-grade poly and silane gas produced at its fab in Butte, Montana – a facility for which the business says it has received plenty of interest from potential purchasers.
Finnish lender Nordea has called in a NOK150 million indemnity loan thought to have been taken out by REC Silicon ASA as a result of the bankruptcy of its Norwegian wafer manufacturing arm seven years ago.
The Norwegian polysilicon supplier – which has most of its manufacturing operations on U.S. soil – cannot give any estimate on when its solar material production lines will return, and has been left entirely dependent on the semiconductor products made by its Montana facility.
The Norwegian manufacturer has delayed full shutdown of its U.S. polysilicon operation until mid July as President Trump and his Chinese counterpart are scheduled to hold talks in Osaka in two weeks’ time.
A group of U.S. senators and representatives from Washington and Montana led by the top democrat on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee are calling on President Trump to negotiate with China and save REC’s Moses Lake facility.
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