REC Wafer has decided to “temporarily” slash its production capacity by 35% in a move that will affect 180 jobs, as low demand for photovoltaic products continues to roil the global solar industry.REC Wafer, one of three divisions at Norwegian solar firm REC Group, says that in order to continue producing at full capacity it would need to buy polysilicon at spot prices that are higher than what it pays under its long-term supply contracts.
The production cut comes as the company is faced with “a challenging market situation and low demand visibility”.
“We have seen an increasingly difficult market so far this year, and need to take measures to optimise our capacity utilisation and secure flexibility in regards to timing of product deliveries,” says Ingelise Arntsen, executive vice president of REC Wafer.
“We’re following the market development closely and are making sure that we stay prepared to increase production on short notice,” Arntsen says.
The company says it does not know when it will return production to its previous level, or what effect the move will have on its total output or earnings in 2009.
The company has previously said it expects to boost its polysilicon output when its ‘Silicon III’ production facility resumes in the third quarter of this year.