REC Solar ASA plans to expand its solar module capacity to 1GW in 2014 and a further 300MW in 2015 to meet the global demand amidst weaken module manufacturing in Europe.
PV Tech reported that REC expects to undertake module assembly line de-bottlenecking in the 1Q14 at its fab in Singapore to provide a full-year PV module capacity of 940MW and a nameplate capacity of 1GW, up from 820MW at the end of 2013. By running at full-capacity, REC may be able to fulfill the excessive market demand due to weaken European manufacturing.
Øyvind Hasaas, CEO of REC, stated that the company has embarked on an investment program to increase their module manufacturing capacity. “By 3Q14, we plan to expand the capacity to 1GW,” said Hasaas. However, the company also noted in a conference call that the Chinese New Year had limited the module capacity at around 940MW this year. To achieve its goal, therefore, it’s necessary to undertake some de-bottlenecking efforts which may involve in additional capital expenditure.
As the last year’s revenue showed a positive sign (SEE: REC Solar ASA: Fourth Quarter 2013 Results) and the global PV market seem to become stronger, it’s not surprised that REC launches an expansion plan. Yet the balance between ingot/wafer and solar cell capacity would remain roughly in balance with the module expansion plans at the facility, reported PV Tech. To tackle this, the company may source solar cells from Taiwan to meet the stronger demand to module manufacturing, a message given in the conference. According to PV Tech, REC’s internal ingot/wafer capacity in Singapore stood at 640MW, solar cell capacity at 770MW and module capacity at 910MW, suggesting the company is already outsourcing to balance production.
With the higher revenue in 2013 than ever, REC cited a global forecast by NPD Solarbuzz and expected the market demand to be stronger in 2014, especially after China’s official announcement of new target of solar installation. Moreover, several market research institutions, including EnergyTrend, predict that module process to be stable in the near future. These are all some of the valid reasons for REC to expand its capacity.
|REC to expand module capacity to 1.3GW at its Singapore plant. (Source: REC solar / PV Tech)|