REC, one of the three largest U.S. polysilicon manufacturers, halts production for five months until June this year in its manufacturing facilities located in the state of Washington. The facilities, which have a production capacity of 16,300 tons, account for approximately 5% of the global polysilicon production capacity. It is said that the temporary shutdown has to do with anti-dumping disputes between the United States and China and can be a boon for the Korean solar power industry.
REC is an American corporation established by the Norwegian REC Group. The company ranks fifth worldwide in terms of polysilicon production capacity. In the U.S. it is a part of the top three with SunEdison and Hemlock.
Back in 2012, the U.S. imposed an anti-dumping duty of up to 250% on Chinese photovoltaic panels. In response, China levied an anti-dumping duty of 57% or less on U.S. polysilicon two years later. In the meantime, Wacker Chemie, a German company, put new facilities into operation with a capacity of 15,000 tons in Tennessee, making the competition even more intense. The international price of polysilicon has been on a rapid decline as well.
“Korean manufacturers such as OCI and Hanwha Chemical can be benefit from the conflict in the long term given that China is the largest polysilicon customer in the world,” said an industry insider, adding, “It seems that the polysilicon price has been at a standstill for the past two weeks because of this expectation.”