With REC Silicon Investment, Hanwha Builds Toward American Solar Supply Chain

Hanwha Solutions, a Korean energy-to material company that also owns Q CELLS, is now the largest shareholder in REC Silicon, a major U.S. producer of polysilicon. This is the key raw material for solar panels. Hanwha is planning to implement a multiphase, multibillion-dollar investment strategy across the entire solar value chain, including polysilicon and solar modules.

Hanwha will now be the largest shareholder in REC Silicon after it has acquired a 16.67% share in REC Silicon for $160million in January 2022. Aker Horizons will acquire an additional 4.67% share in REC Silicon from Hanwha, a sustainability investment company that had been coowner with REC Silicon.

Hanwha Solutions. The deal is estimated to be worth approximately $44 million

“Our commitment to the U.S. is more serious than ever before,” says Justin Lee, CEO of Q CELLS. “We plan to make investments to secure capabilities across the entire solar supply chain, with the goal of supplying our partners with ‘Made in America’ products that will help the U.S. regain its leadership in clean energy solutions.”

REC Silicon has two polysilicon manufacturing plants in the U.S., one in Moses Lake, Wash., and one in Butte, Mont. Their combined annual production capacity is 18,000 metric tons (MT), which includes 16,000 MT granular, solar-grade polysilicon at Moses Lake and 2000 MT electronic grade polysilicon in Butte.

REC Silicon produces low carbon polysilicon using hydropower-based renewable energy. It does not emit greenhouse gases. Compared to carbon-heavy polysilicon manufactured overseas that often relies on coal power, REC Silicon’s “clean polysilicon” is expected to draw more demand in the coming years as international scrutiny over industrial emissions and carbon footprints grows.

REC Silicon manufactures solar grade polysilicon as well as other materials like electronic grade silicon, silane gas, and flat screen televisions. These materials are crucial for high-tech devices such semiconductors, smartphones and hybrid electric vehicles.

“Increasing energy market turbulence tells us why securing key raw material production is so critical,” comments a Hanwha Solutions spokesperson. “Given upward pressure on oil prices and scrutiny over the environmentally damaging impacts from fossil fuels, we believe that strengthening the renewable-based energy supply chain is important – and producing low-carbon solar material is a good starting point to achieve the goal.”

Hanwha currently operates a module manufacturing facility in the U.S. via its solar panel business unit Q CELLS. The factory in Georgia can produce 1.7 GW solar modules annually.